India vs England 2016: Virat Kohli declares KL Rahul as India’s first-choice opener

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India’s Test skipper Virat Kohli made it clear ahead of the second Test of ongoing 5-match series between India and England that KL Rahul is India’s first-choice opener in Test cricket alongside Murali Vijay. Gautam Gambhir, who came in as a replacement opener after injuries to KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan, failed to make an impact in the four innings that he played after his comeback. In the first Test in Rajkot, Gambhir scored only 28 runs in the match, including a duck in the second innings.

This is what Virat Kohli had to say at the eve of the second Test:

“We had it pretty clear in our heads that KL is our number one choice alongwith M Vijay. He is fit at any stage, he comes back into the team and we are going to start with him. Be it pulling him out of a first-class game in between. It’s within the rules and the regulations,” Virat Kohli told media in a press conference on the eve of the second Test.

“We were waiting for him to recover as soon as possible. That’s how the team combinations go, you go with what you think is the best for the team. Don’t think we needed to think any differently to call back Rahul. We are glad that he’s back in the side again. That was the whole idea behind it.”

KL Rahul’s inclusion in the squad now means that Gautam Gambhir will have to sit on the bench and make way for the Karnataka batsman. With age not on his side, it will now be very difficult for Gambhir to make a comeback. Gautam Gambhir was dropped because of his poor technique but even after working hard for two years at the domestic level, he made same mistakes even after his comeback.

India’s predicted playing XI for the second Test: Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav