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IPL star named as Virat Kohli’s replacement for first two Test against England

Virat Kohli and Rajat Patidar

In a notable development, Rajat Patidar has secured a place in the Indian squad for the first two Tests against England. His selection follows Virat Kohli’s decision to opt out of the initial two Tests due to personal commitments. The much-anticipated five-match Test series is set to kick off on January 25 in Hyderabad. This decision has sparked discussions in cricketing circles, given that there were other contenders in consideration.

As part of a strategic decision, the inclusion of the right-handed batter suggests a current inclination away from Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, further delaying Mumbai’s Sarfaraz Khan’s opportunity. Rinku Singh’s presence in the India A squad for the second multi-day match against England Lions today has paved the way for Patidar’s promotion to the senior side. He demonstrated excellent form, particularly with a score of 151 against England Lions for India A in the first innings of the opening unofficial Test.

The Royal Challenger Bangalore (RCB) star batter also recorded a solid 111 in the warm-up game against the Lions and had previously been part of the A team during the South Africa tour last year. He even backed it up with a brilliant 151 against England Lions in first unofficial Test match. It’s worth noting that Rinku Singh’s recent inclusion in the A squad for the final two matches against England Lions on Tuesday paved the way for the RCB batter’s call-up to the senior squad. Singh has an impressive track record, accumulating 4000 runs in 55 first-class fixtures, with an average of 45.97, including 12 centuries and a highest score of 196.

Rajat Patidar made debut in ODI against South Africa

Making his international debut in the 3rd ODI against South Africa in Paarl, the 30-year-old batted as an opener alongside Sai Sudharsan. He made a valuable contribution of 22 runs off 16 deliveries, displaying a brisk innings that included three boundaries and a maximum. While he initially appeared as an opener, if selected for his Test debut in the upcoming match against England in Hyderabad, Patidar is expected to take up a position in the middle order.

The Madhya Pradesh batter initially gained cricketing prominence with his remarkable performance in the IPL 2022, accumulating 333 runs in seven innings at an impressive average of 55.50 and a striking rate of 152.75. His memorable century against the Lucknow Super Giants in the Eliminator, where he scored 112 off 54 deliveries, played a pivotal role in guiding the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) to a successful total.

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