At the start of the year 2023

KL Rahul also was given a dent professionally when he was, in terms of Wisden’s Abhishek Mukherjee, “unvicecaptained” in white-ball India teams, with Hardik Pandya being appointed the deputy to Rohit Sharma for the Sri Lanka ODIs with Rahul in the squad as a player (keeper-batter) only.

In the eyes of the selectors

KL Rahul is no more a guaranteed starter in India’s limited-overs XI as he has been in the last two-three years. The selectors and the fans, of course, have been left wanting for more from KL Rahul, but the batter has disappointed more often.

The opening slot is not available for KL Rahul anymore

Rohit Sharma is the incumbent while Dhawan has recently been dropped; Gill, who averaged 70 last year in ODIs, and Kishan, who blasted the fastest double century in ODIs, are contenders for Sharma’s partner’s spot. This has meant that KL Rahul was pushed in the middle-order, and in Bangladesh played as the keeper-batter with Pant rested.

If Kishan does get the nod ahead of Gill

KL Rahul will play only as a batter - his keeping is certainly not at par with Pant and Kishan - and will have to prove and justify his selection with the bat, the ask of which has been seemingly growing with every passing series.

For Pant, despite his struggles in T20Is

It is hard to believe that the management will look past him yet in the ODI format - he has smashed a century against England - in a series-decider - in Manchester only 3 ODI innings.

Pant’s unfortunate injury

Which has ruled him out for about 4 months at least, will give KL Rahul the opportunity - 3 ODIs vs Sri Lanka and 3 vs New Zealand - to get his act together, and the management to figure out not only whether the number 4/5 role is meant for KL Rahul, but also whether KL Rahul should continue in the ODI side or not.