Rahul returns to practice

Even as India went through their first training session since wrapping up the opening Test inside four days last week, Rahul batted at length at the practice facilities situated adjacent to Sinhalese Cricket Club Ground, the venue for the second Test. He faced throw downs from assistant coach Sanjay Bangar and Raghavendra, team’s “throw-down specialist.” He then faced Ravindra Jadeja and some local bowlers and batted in the ‘nets’ put up at the main ground. After taking some catches, he batted for some more time before winding up his day.

Having joined the team only on the second evening of the first Test in Galle after contracting viral fever, the Karnataka batsman, however, didn’t go through the bleep test that most of his team-mates were put through. And Head Coach Ravi Shastri, too, remained non-committal about his return to the playing 11 for the second Test.

“Good, he is good,” said Shastri when asked about opener’s progress. “We are watching him closely. He went through some tough times, he was in the hospital for 2-3 days and obviously it has taken a lot out of him. So we have to be very careful how we treat him, we are watching him very closely and he is getting better by the day.”

India, however, won’t be fretting too much over Rahul’s recovery though. Shikhar Dhawan, who replaced Rahul for the first Test, slammed his way to 190 in the first innings of the Galle Test while other opener Abhinav Mukund struck a well-paced 81 in the second innings as India set hosts a target of 550 to win. 

It remains to be seen if India bring back Rahul for the second Test or allow him more time to regain full fitness. Given his luck with injuries and now illness in a short career, the team management will be extra cautious in pressing him back into the side.

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