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KL Rahul vs Shreyas Iyer shoot off for No 5 slot in IND vs ENG 1st Test, know why?

KL Rahul vs Shreyas Iyer shoot off for No 5 slot in IND vs ENG 1st Test, know why?

With KS Bharat likely to keep wickets in India vs England Tests, KL Rahul & Shreyas Iyer will have to fight for spot in IND vs ENG 1st Test.

Will KL Rahul play as a batter, and wicketkeeper or there is no place for him at all in Team India in the India vs England 1st Test? As the focus shifts to the Test, this will dominate discussions and Rahul Dravid has a big selection headache. Even though Rahul made his wicketkeeping debut in the Test in South Africa, the team management does not believe he can keep wickets as well as KS Bharat against two great turners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Hence, there is a chance that he plays IND vs ENG 1st Test only as a batter. But then what happens to Shreyas Iyer?

In fact, if KL Rahul plays as a pure batter, he will have to fight for No 5 slot with Shreyas Iyer as KS Bharat will be the designated keeper-batter.

KL Rahul vs Shreyas Iyer

Even though KL Rahul is in the squad as a wicketkeeper-batter for India vs England Test series, he has not done so in on spin-heavy tracks. That’s where KS Bharat comes in. And if Bharat does find a place, it will be a shoot-off between KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer. Shubman Gill is likely to get the first two matches despite a string of poor shows in Tests.

Had KL Rahul kept wickets in home Tests, Shreyas Iyer would have had a spot in the India Playing XI for the India vs England Test for sure. But now, both will have to compete for a spot.

Both Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul have had ups and downs in home Tests on spin-friendly tracks. Even though KL Rahul has scored his career-best 199 at home, he has failed to even score a half-century since 2018.

KL Rahul vs Shreyas Iyer in home Tests

PlayerMatInnsRunsHSAvg100/50
Shreyas Iyer71143010539.091/3
KL Rahul162592319940.131/8

Similarly, Shreyas Iyer started with a century on debut at home. But since then, he has fizzled out. Iyer averages 39.09 after 11 innings, scoring a century and three fifties. KL Rahul has played 25 innings, averaging 40.13.

Who should get the nod?

The decision may not be that simple. While Shreyas Iyer has been asked by the team management to develop an aggressive game, KL Rahul could get in based on his current form. That he scored an outstanding century in difficult conditions under pressure in Centurion should be enough to find a place.

“I am going to play attacking irrespective of the situation. When you bowl negative when you bowl safe and defensive at the start, what can you do. You want to score runs and you need to take your team through up to a certain point. That was my mindset and that’s what I stuck with. I was happy with the performance irrespective of the score,” Shreyas Iyer said on JiCinema on the sidelines of the Mumbai vs Andhra Ranji Trophy match.

Now, Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma will have to decide: current form or new formula – which they should back.

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