The Indian test team has suffered a huge blow ahead of their World Test Championship final against Australia as KL Rahul and Jaydev Unadkat suffered injuries on Monday against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023. Key opening batter KL Rahul and pacer Jaydev Unadkat have sent scares through the national camp with hamstring and shoulder problems respectively, both while on IPL duty.
Left-arm quick Unadkat fell in a freak accident on Sunday, tripping on a wire in his follow-through during a net session. The 31-year-old left training heavily strapped, and is a doubt to take part in the one-off World Test Championship final at The Oval from June 7. The injury compounds India’s fast bowling fitness issues, with Jasprit Bumrah not named in the squad and targeting the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup campaign at the end of the year after recently undergoing back surgery. Unadkat is one of five bowlers named in the squad to take on Australia, though Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav are under fitness clouds of their own.
Rahul’s hamstring injury adds to injury woes on the batting side, and this could force a change of philosophy for India come the final. Already missing Shreyas Iyer and first-choice wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant, Rahul limped off the field during Lucknow Super Giants’ match against Royal Challengers Bangalore, refusing to be stretchered off as he clutched his leg.
Should he not take part in the WTC final, Ajinkya Rahane would likely make his first Test appearance in over a year, with Shubman Gill to join skipper Rohit Sharma at the top of the order. Assuming Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli line up at No.3 and No.4, Rahane would slide in at No.5. Meanwhile, final opponents Australia are seemingly on course to make their final push for the WTC mace with a clean bill of health.
Experienced pacer Josh Hazlewood made a successful return from an Achilles injury that has kept him out since the Sydney Test in January, taking 2/15 from three overs and helping Royal Challengers Bangalore defend their miserly 126. India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, K L Rahul, KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat.