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Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey will challenge KL Rahul for India’s No.4 spot: Sourav Ganguly

Rahul recently lost his place from the Test side after the West Indies tour.

Former Indian Cricket team skipper Sourav Ganguly
Former Indian Cricket team skipper Sourav Ganguly. (Photo by Prabhat Shetty/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

KL Rahul was a favourite of the Indian selectors and team management till recently despite not performing on the expected lines. The talented batsman’s last Test hundred came over a year ago in England but he somehow continued to get opportunities in all formats. But after an ordinary show in the West Indies recently, Rahul got dropped from the Indian side for the three-match Test series against South Africa starting next month.

In the past, poor form in the Test saw the Karnataka batsman getting replaced by players like Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal but he managed to make a comeback but could not utilise the opportunity. Rahul still continued in India’s limited-over sides and managed a hundred against Sri Lanka in the ICC World Cup 2019.

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But former India captain Sourav Ganguly is of the opinion that the 27-year-old batter will have to be on his toes and make most of the chances coming his way. He expressed his opinion in a recent column that he wrote for The Times of India (TOI). Rahul lost his place to yet another youngster Shubman Gill in the Test squad for the upcoming series against South Africa. He did not get a place in the playing XI in the second T20I against the Proteas in Mohali either.

Rahul is one of those rare Indian batsmen who has hundreds in all three formats of the game and he is often seen as the next best thing to have happened to Indian cricket after Virat Kohli. But after making his debut in December 2014, Rahul has witnessed a long lean phase and has come under increasing criticism though his batted has dazzled in the Indian Premier League.

Rahul hasn’t played in ODIs after WC semi-final

In the ODIs, Rahul hasn’t played a game since the semi-final in the World Cup in which his dismissal at a crunch moment was heavily criticised. He replaced an injured Shikhar Dhawan as opener in the tournament and played some good knocks but Ganguly feels the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey will throw a serious challenge to Rahul for the No.4 spot in the batting order.

“With Rohit (Sharma) and Shikhar (Dhawan) at the top as the best possible opening pair, K L Rahul will be pushed. He has lost his place in Test cricket due to indifferent form and the likes of Shreyas and Manish Pandey will keep him on his toes if he wants to hold on to the No. 4 slot,” Ganguly wrote in his column.

Iyer made two fifties against the West Indies in the ODIs recently while Pandey too has shown good touch in the Karnataka Premier League and List A games against South Africa ‘A’ recently.

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