India are likely to change their opening batting partnership for the next meeting with England after Kannur Lokesh 'KL' Rahul was added to the squad for this week's second Test, which gets underway at the Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam on Thursday (17 November).
Along with fellow key top-order batsmen Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, Rahul played no part in the opening contest due to concerns over a hamstring strain sustained during the first Test victory over New Zealand in September. However, the right-hander has now proved his fitness by scoring a combined 182 for Karnataka in their ongoing Ranji Trophy Group B match against Rajasthan over the weekend. His opening 76 came off just 85 deliveries.
"He had an injury in Kanpur, which all of you are aware of," India head coach Anil Kumble said after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed Rahul's addition. "Since then he was not available for any of the Test matches against New Zealand nor for the one dayers.
"He's recovered now and as a protocol we wanted him to go and play a first-class match. He scored 100 and in the first innings he got 70 plus against Rajasthan. Since the match was happening very close to Vizag, it's good to have him in the squad and he is available for selection."
Rahul looks set to partner Murali Vijay in the second Test against England after veteran Gautam Gambhir made just 29 in Rajkot. The 35-year-old was caught by slip fielder Joe Root off the bowling of Chris Woakes for a duck in the second innings, leaving India in a 0-1 hole in pursuit of 310 for victory from 49 overs. Kumble's side lost six wickets on an entertaining final day after the tourists had declared on 260-3, but eventually sealed a draw thanks to the batting of captain Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja.