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Not Ajinkya Rahane or Cheteshwar Pujara! This RCB Star Replaces Unavailable Virat Kohli For First Two Tests Against England – Reports

Rajat Patidar to Replace Virat Kohli in First Two Tests against England

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As the much-anticipated five-match Test series between India and England approaches, the Indian cricket team faced an unexpected setback with Virat Kohli withdrawing from the first two Tests due to personal reasons. However, the void left by the skipper has been filled by a rising star from the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) camp – Rajat Patidar. The 30-year-old batsman, who impressed with back-to-back centuries against the England Lions, has earned his maiden Test call-up, according to a report in Cricbuzz.

Patidar

Key Highlights:

  • Virat Kohli, the batting maestro and Indian skipper, will miss the initial two Tests against England owing to personal reasons.
  • Rajat Patidar, a 30-year-old RCB player, has been selected as Kohli’s replacement based on his stellar performances, including consecutive centuries against the England Lions.
  • Patidar, who made his ODI debut for India in December 2023, pipped experienced players like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane to secure his spot in the 16-member Test squad.
  • The first Test of the series is scheduled to take place at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.

Rajat Patidar’s inclusion in the Test squad is not only a testament to his recent prolific form but also a recognition of his consistent performances. The Madhya Pradesh batter made his ODI debut for India on December 21, 2023, against South Africa in Paarl. However, it was his standout performances against the England Lions earlier this month that catapulted him into the Test arena.

Scoring back-to-back centuries, Patidar showcased his batting prowess and caught the attention of the selectors. This remarkable achievement allowed him to surpass the likes of Test specialists Cheteshwar Pujara, former Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, and Mumbai batter Sarfaraz Khan, securing his place in the 16-member Test squad.

Also Read: BCCI Naman Awards 2024: Celebrating Excellence in Indian Cricket

Rajat Patidar brings a wealth of experience to the Test squad, having featured in 55 first-class matches. With an impressive tally of 4000 runs at an average of 45.97, the right-handed batter has consistently delivered in the longer format of the game. Despite missing the IPL 2023 due to injury, Patidar made a strong comeback, underlining his form with a notable 111-run innings for India A against the England Lions in a two-day practice match held in Ahmedabad on January 12 and 13.

In the subsequent unofficial Test against the England Lions, Patidar continued to shine, amassing 151 runs from 158 balls in the first innings. His consistency and ability to perform under pressure have earned him the much-deserved spot in the Test squad.

While Patidar opened the innings on his ODI debut and also did so for India A against the England Lions, if selected in the playing XI, he is likely to slot into the middle order. His adaptability and versatility make him an asset for the team, providing flexibility in the batting lineup.

India’s Updated Squad for the First Two Tests against England:

Rohit Sharma (c), Jasprit Bumrah (vc), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), KS Bharat (wk), Dhruv Jurel (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Avesh Khan, Rajat Patidar.

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