With a strain in his left thigh, KL Rahul has been ruled out of the next two-Test series against New Zealand. Suryakumar Yadav has been added to the squad in his stead, two days before the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur, at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. The Indian team’s management is confident about Rahul’s rehabilitation from injury, which they believe will be complete in time for him to fly to South Africa in December.

Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal will likely begin for India in the absence of Rahul – Rohit Sharma has been rested for the series. Along with Rohit, regular Test captain Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah have all been rested, however Kohli will return to lead the team in the second Test in Mumbai.

Suryakumar, a 31-year-old middle-order batsman, was also a last-minute addition to the red-ball group that toured England earlier this year, but he has yet to play in the format. Along with Shreyas Iyer, he could be a contender for a Test slot in the middle order.

Suryakumar has been a significant contributor for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy, where he has established himself as a regular in India’s T20I team. Suryakumar scored 508 runs in ten innings in the most recent first-class season, with two hundreds and two fifties, at an average of 56.44 and a strike rate of 95.13. He has played in 77 first-class matches, 71 of which have been in the Ranji Trophy.

Shardul Thakur, an all-rounder, has been recruited to India’s A squad, which will travel to South Africa before embarking on an all-format tour. Bharat Arun emphasised his importance in the team after his key performances against Australia during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21 and the England series. “Shardul Thakur is doing fantastically well. Imagine the pressure he was under and how effectively he handled it,” Arun told the Indian Express.