Saba Karim said that KL Rahul’s absence for the upcoming fifth and final Test against England is going to be a huge blow for Team India. Notably, Rahul was India’s second-highest run-getter in the four Tests that they had played last year. His 315 runs came at a decent average of 39.37 and he was only behind Rohit Sharma, who scored 368 runs.
During a discussion on India News, Saba Karim said: “Only one player is not available at the moment, that is KL Rahul. The way he had performed in the Test matches last year, the two Test matches India had won, KL Rahul had a huge contribution. So the Indian team will definitely miss him.”
He continued: “As per reports, Shubman Gill will get a chance instead of him. It is a huge opportunity for Shubman Gill. Shubman Gill will have a very important role because he is an attacking player, he is technically capable of batting here and scoring runs. It will be very good for us if Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill have a good partnership.”
However, Gill missed out on the first four Tests of the series due to injury. The young opener has amassed 558 runs in the 10 Tests he has played for India to date, including 36 runs against New Zealand in the World Test Championship final as well, which is the only Test he has played in England so far.
Saba Karim again added: “It is a huge responsibility for Rohit Sharma. He had given fantastic starts to India in the Test matches that were played last year. There will be similar expectations from him this time as well. It is extremely important in England, where conditions keep changing a lot, that if you get a good start, you can post a massive total. India played bold cricket last year, they batted first after winning the toss in tough conditions, very few teams go to the ground with that approach. Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma will have to pay attention to all these things.”
Saba Karim also felt that it would be difficult for Team India to put England under pressure in the final Test of the series if Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma fails to do well with the bat. However, both of them have been going through rough forms and they will have to resolve their issues soon and get back in form.
He explained: “Yes, it will definitely impact. It will be very difficult to win if your main batters don’t score runs. We have seen where England’s strengths lie and to counter that it is necessary that your match-winners, who have the experience, score runs, the way Joe Root and Ben Stokes did for England. The main players will have to score runs in big matches. You are talking about Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, both of them will have to find a solution in the end. However big the coach might be, a coach can only help you to a certain extent, you only have to go and bat in the middle according to your strengths.”
“I feel now that the captaincy burden has been removed from Virat Kohli’s shoulders, if he bats more freely, concentrates on his preparation and bats while thinking about how the bowler is trying to get him out, we will see runs from him again. Virat scoring runs is extremely necessary for India,” Saba Karim concluded.