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Border-Gavaskar Trophy: India retain K L Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Unadkat for 3rd, 4th Tests

New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) The national selectors on Sunday retained under-fire opener K.L Rahul for the third and fourth Test matches of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series while also retaining middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer, who was included for the Delhi Test after recovering from an injury, and Jaydev Unadkat, who was released ahead of the second Test to play for Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy final,

The decision to retain Rahul was not surprising after skipper Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid expressed their support for the opener.

Since January 2022, Rahul has just one fifty-plus score while his last Test hundred came in December 2021 against South Africa. In the Delhi Test against Australia, Rahul was dismissed for 17 in the first innings and made just one in the chase of 115, coming after making a laborious 20 in Nagpur.

With Shubman Gill waiting in the wings, Rahul, who is also India’s vice-captain in the Test team, was under pressure to hold on to his spot. However, Rohit came out in support of his deputy and said if the guy has got the potential, the team management will give him more opportunities to get back into form.

A few hours after Rohit Sharma said this in the post-match press conference, the All-India Senior Selection Committee endorsed his view by picking Rahul for the next two Test matches against Australia to be played at Indore from March 1-7 and Ahmedabad from March 9-13.

The selectors, minus chief selector Chetan Sharma who has resigned following his controversial comments in a sting operation, also retained Iyer, who was called into the side ahead of the Delhi Test after he was declared fit following an injury.

Unadkat, who was released from the squad to represent Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy final, also came back after helping his home state win the title on Sunday. This meant, Suryakumar Yadav, who had dropped after the Nagpur Test for Iyer, will continue to be part of the 17-member squad.

India’s Test squad for the third and fourth Test against Australia: Rohit Sharma (Captain), K L Rahul, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, KS Bharat (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat.