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India vs New Zealand 2017: Virat Kohli opens up about KL Rahul exclusion

Rahul will play in the Ranji Trophy as Shikhar Dhawan makes a return.


Australia v India - 4th Test: Day 3

What's the story?

At a press conference held ahead of the first ODI between India and New Zealand, to be played at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, captain Virat Kohli addressed talk of right-hander KL Rahul's exclusion from the side.

"KL Rahul has opened wherever he has played. (We) don't want a similar situation to what happened with Ajinkya Rahane. He has gone back to play domestic cricket. We brought in Dinesh Karthik because he has more experience playing in the middle-order."

In case you didn't know...

Rahul played 4 matches in Sri Lanka but put in lacklustre performances each time, as a result of which he was not part of the playing XI for India's ODI series against Australia.

Thereafter, Rahul was dropped from the team entirely to accommodate a returning Shikhar Dhawan, who had taken a hiatus to support his wife, who is recovering from an undisclosed illness.

The details

KL Rahul has been suffering from a recurrent shoulder injury, that has seen him sit out of both the Indian Premier League - where he plays for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, the ICC Champions Trophy, and India's series against the West Indies.

Subsequently, when he made a comeback from his injuries, chief selector MSK Prasad revealed that Rahul would be positioned in the middle-order for the Sri Lanka series. The Mangalore native did not have much success at No. 4.

Kohli has clearly demarcated what role KL Rahul has been given in the team in terms of opening, clarifying that the 25-year-old was a seasoned opener and best at that position.

Author's Take

The talented right-hander has fallen upon hard times in terms of form now, but having scored centuries in all three formats of the game, has proven his talent at the international level in the past.

This year has also seen the 25-year-old struggle with a recurring shoulder injury, which ruled him out of both the Champions Trophy and the Indian Premier League this year.

Putting the experienced Dinesh Karthik in a middle-order that is so far struggling to find its feet is a good move.

What's next

KL Rahul will play for Karnataka against Hyderabad in the teams' second round Ranji Trophy match in his home state. A good series of performances here will put him back into strong contention for a spot in the team.

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