The Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) have been dealt a devastating blow in the 2023 Indian Premier League, as their captain, KL Rahul, has been ruled out of the tournament due to a hamstring injury he sustained while fielding in the match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. This unfortunate news has cast doubt on his participation in the upcoming World Test Championship (WTC) final.

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During the second over of the first innings, Rahul pulled his hamstring while chasing a ball and fell to the ground in agony. The LSG medical staff assisted him off the field, and he did not participate in the team’s last home game against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), where Krunal Pandya assumed the role of captain. Rahul was immediately sent to Mumbai for scans, which will determine whether he can play in the WTC final.

Currently, Rahul is under the care of the medical officials in Mumbai, where he will be closely monitored. However, sources have reported that his chances of recovering in time for the WTC final appear bleak. Despite a lukewarm IPL season, in which he scored 274 runs in nine innings, Rahul’s experience and success in England earned him a place in the squad and made him a strong candidate for the WTC final. Furthermore, in the absence of Rishabh Pant, he was expected to take on wicket-keeping duties. If Rahul misses, who will take his place in the squad, let’s look at the three possible replacement options:

WTC Final: Three Probable Replacements for KL Rahul:

WTC Final: 3 Players Who Can Replace KL Rahul in India’s Test Squad
WTC Final: 3 Players Who Can Replace KL Rahul in India’s Test Squad

3) Sarfaraz Khan

Sarfaraz, a 25-year-old batter from Mumbai, has been making waves in the domestic circuit with his impressive performances. During the Ranji Trophy 2021-22 season, he emerged as the top run-scorer, amassing 982 runs in six games with a remarkable average of 122.75. In the following season, he scored 556 runs at an average of 92.66, making him the team’s third-highest scorer behind Rahane and Shaw. Sarfaraz smashed three centuries and a half-century during the 2022-23 Ranji Trophy season, but despite his outstanding performances, he was not selected for the home series against Australia. Though he has never been called up to the squad, he may still have a chance as a backup player, given his talent. Although he may not be a first-choice in the playing eleven, he is still a valuable addition to the Test squad.

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2) Hanuma Vihari

Vihari is considered as a strong contender for the middle-order position and has had a mixed performance history with the Indian cricket team. He last played a Test match for India in Birmingham during the England tour in 2020, where his performances were lackluster, resulting in him being dropped from the team and losing his BCCI central contract. Despite having only one century and five half-centuries in 16 games, Vihari is well-regarded for his determined batting style, often sacrificing his body for the team’s cause. Considering Australia’s formidable pace attack consisting of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Pat Cummins, Vihari could be an excellent candidate to face them in English conditions, as he has previously played against them and shown his mettle.

1) Ishan Kishan

Ishan Kishan appears to be the most suitable replacement for Rahul due to his similar style of stroke-making and ability to maintain a healthy strike rate, especially on a flat wicket like the one expected at the Oval. Kishan possesses considerable experience in first-class cricket, having played red-ball cricket since 2014 and gained exposure to playing on flat wickets. In his 48 first-class matches, the left-handed batter has amassed 2985 runs at an average of 38.76 and an impressive strike rate of 68.90.

The expected batting-friendly pitch at the Oval, with its even bounce, should prove to be an ideal match for Kishan’s aggressive style of play. While he is yet to make his Test debut for the national team, Kishan was part of the squad for the Australia series, indicating that he is a player of significant potential. This injury to Rahul could present him with the opportunity to make his mark in the Test arena.

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