The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced Virat Kohli’s replacement for the first two Tests of the upcoming five-match Test series against England. Madhya Pradesh batter, Rajat Patidar has been added to the squad to replace India’s run-machine for the first two games.
Patidar has pipped the likes of Pujara, Sarfaraz Khan, and Ajinkya Rahane to make it into the squad. Despite the likes of Pujara and Sarfaraz Khan in good form, the BCCI has given the nod to Rajat Patidar to replace Virat.
Notably, Patidar too has exceptional numbers in the red-ball format. The Madhya Pradesh batter has scored a truckload of runs since returning from an injury. He recently scored 151 against the England Lions in Ahmedabad last week.
Rajat Patidar Career
Rajat Patidar has 4000 runs to his name in 55 first-class matches at an average of 45.97. He has 12 centuries and 22 half-centuries to his name in first-class cricket. Besides, he has a substantial amount of experience of playing at number four position and could well be suited to bat at that spot in the Indian team for the first two Tests.
It is worth mentioning that Rajat Patidar has already joined India’s squad in Hyderabad and also attended BCCI’s Naman Awards. Rajat Patidar, recently, made his ODI debut during the ODI series against South Africa.
Earlier, BCCI released a statement mentioning that Virat Kohli had pulled out of the first two Tests due to personal reasons. The Indian batter or the BCCI hasn’t revealed the exact reason for the same but has requested the media to respect his privacy during this time.
Ahead of the start of the series, Rahul Dravid spoke about the absence of Virat Kohli from the first two Tests. Here’s what he said at the presser:
“I think you know any team will miss the quality of a player of Virat. There’s no doubt about it. You know, he’s a phenomenal player. His record speaks for him. On the field, his presence is a huge boost to the side. But having said that, you know, I think, it just presents another opportunity for somebody else to be able to step up and to be able to put in some performances,”
“And of course, you know, for reasons I can’t be helped, he is not available for us in the first couple of games. But certainly like I said it, you know, while he will be missed. It’s a great opportunity for somebody else to really, sort of show us what they’ve got in these conditions,” he added.
Skipper Rohit Sharma, along with the entire Indian squad were practicing on Monday for the much-anticipated series. The five-match Test series against England kick starts on Thursday.
The first Test match between India and England is slated to be played from 25h January to 29th January 2024 at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.