Karnataka’s Karun Nair was handed his maiden Test cap at Mohali after KL Rahul was ruled out due to an injury.
The injury will be a big setback to team India as well as the opening batsman. KL Rahul was finally looking to cement his place in the team after being included regularly in the playing XI.
With Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay performing well last year, the youngster was getting very limited chances. However, he made sure to make those chances count. A century each in Australia, Sri Lanka and West Indies was enough to convince the selectors that the right-handed batsman has the potential to perform at the top level. His brilliant performance with the willow coincided with Dhawan’s poor form and the Karnataka batsman was finally rewarded for his perseverance as he got the nod ahead of the southpaw to open the innings against New Zealand. But injury has been his nemesis then. He was ruled out of the last two Test vs New Zealand due to a hamstring injury and made a much-anticipated return to the playing XI during the second Test against England. Although, he failed to perform but he would have surely wanted to get another match to strike some form but injury came back to haunt him once again.
It is also a huge setback for the team which is desperate to get a solid opening combination. The last century stand between the openers came in June 2015, when Dhawan and Vijay added 283 runs against Bangladesh. Meanwhile, there will be fingers raised on team management after their baffling decision of not including a backup opener in the team. It is likely that Parthiv Patel, who is making a comeback after eight years, will partner Vijay at the top.
Meanwhile, Nair would like to make the most of this opportunity. The Karnataka batsman has been performing consistently in the domestic circuit and will look to replicate that form in this match to prove his worth. He was picked in the team for the ODI series in Zimbabwe but he did not get enough runs under his belt. And with Indian middle-order quite stable, he cannot afford another slip-up.
— BCCI (@BCCI) November 26, 2016