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    NEW DELHI: The national selection committee is waiting for a clarity on Virat Kohli’s availability for the remainder of the ongoing Test series against England. TOI understands that the selectors and Indian cricket board (BCCI) will check on Kohli one final time before naming the team for the last three Tests.
    Kohli had pulled out of the first two Tests citing personal reasons. Sources said that the BCCI doesn’t really want to push Kohli if he isn’t at a place to play in this series. However, they will check with him once given the vulnerability of the inexperienced middle order.
    “The call will be entirely on Kohli. The board respects his personal space. If he agrees to play any part in the series, then there’s nothing like that. But it will be his call,” a BCCI source told TOI.
    The inexperience of the India’s young middle order has come to the fore in the first two matches so far where they have failed to convert starts into big scores. The team management has been compelled to bat Axar Patel at No. 6 in the second Test match as wicketkeeper KS Bharat’s batting abilities have not been inspiring.
    However, the selectors are optimistic about KL Rahul coming back into the team after pulling out of the second Test due to strained quad.
    “Rahul seems to have been recovering well. There’s a strong chance that he will be back for the third Test match,” the source said.
    Ravindra Jadeja, who picked up a hamstring injury during the first Test, is likely to be ruled out for the entire series.
    Pressure on Gill
    With Shubman Gill struggling to get going at No. 3 and Shreyas Iyer also not cashing in on his opportunities, it will be interesting to see if the selectors are tempted to bring back the experienced Cheteshwar Pujara. Sources, though, hinted that the team management and the selection committee are very clear on preparing the next generation of batters. They have been content after having moved on from Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane from the recent tour of South Africa.
    If Rahul is declared fit for the next Test match, Gill is certain to feel the heat to retain his place in the XI. It could be a toss up between Gill and Iyer unless the team management wants to go in with by dropping a bowler.





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