Former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar has said KL Rahul’s absence from the rescheduled Birmingham Test could be a setback for Team India. Earlier appointed as Rohit Sharma’s deputy, Rahul was supposed to travel to England for the upcoming series comprising a Test, three T20Is, and as many ODIs. But a groin injury ahead of the South Africa series led him out of the tour and has to go to Germany for treatment.
India already hold an unassailable 2-1 lead in the 5-match Test series which was postponed last year due to the Covid outbreak in the visitor’s camp. One of the major aspects of the success was the runs from Rahul and Rohit Sharma.
Rohit was India’s top run-getter, amassing 368 runs in four matches, including a fine 127 in the second innings of the fourth Test at The Oval apart from fifties at Lord’s and Headingley. Rahul, on the other hand, made 315 runs with a stunning 129 in the first innings at Lord’s.
During a virtual interaction organised by Sony Sports Network, Manjrekar opined batting will be a big challenge for the visitors at Edgbaston.
“This time around, with KL Rahul missing out, it’s a massive setback for India. But there is hope in the selection of Shreyas Iyer, if he gets a game and hopefully, Hanuma Vihari figures as well; Cheteshwar Pujara is making a comeback.
“India have the resources to fill that void. But when you look at India’s seam bowling, there is quality there and quality options as well for them to choose from apart from two spinners. Batting, like last time, will be the big challenge,” said Manjrekar in a virtual interaction organised by Sony Sports.
Sharma is returning to England with captaincy duties on his shoulders, Rahul is unavailable due to a groin injury, which means that young Shubman Gill is in line to open the batting.
“Because it’s a one-off Test match and India haven’t played one in a long time in England as they are going there after one year. The team management and all of us know that the big challenge for India is to get minimum 300 runs in the first innings and hopefully, another big score in the second innings,” Manjrekar said.
“Whatever the team composition is planned out, they will always be looking to address the batting issues and with KL Rahul missing being a huge blow for India, if you look at the top five or six, you sort of worried about the batting as you don’t have a situation where you have a number three, four, five, all in great form and recent form playing in foreign conditions,” he added.