Why didn't the selectors pick KL Rahul in India's squad for the Afghanistan T20i series?

The Selection Committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Sunday, January 7, the 15-member Indian squad for the three-match T20 series against Afghanistan. Virat Kohli, Sanju Samson, and Rohit Sharma have made their comeback to the shortest format of the game, with Rohit returning as the captain. But some people have questioned the decision to exclude KL Rahul from India’s squad for the 3-match T20i series against Afghanistan.

The LSG skipper who kept the wickets for India in the recently concluded 2023 ODI World Cup and in the test series against South Africa was not selected in the squad for the Afghanistan series, neither as a batter nor as a wicketkeeper. Rahul was one of the best performers for the Men in Blue in the recently concluded tour of South Africa, as he scored a brilliant century against South Africa in the Boxing Day Test Match at Centurion, but the Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee decided not to include the LSG skipper in the T20i squad against Afghanistan.

In his recent Youtube video, commentator Aakash Chopra questioned the decision of the selectors to exclude Rahul from the squad for the Afghanistan series and said, “Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Virat Kohli were India’s top three batters in the 2022 T20 World Cup. We don’t know whether KL Rahul has been dropped or has not been picked; there is no clarity regarding that; all we know is that he is not there in the squad.”

“His strike rate in T20i’s is more than 135, which is a really good strike rate in terms of the T20i standards. There are no spots in the opening positions that are available, and you made him play in the middle order in the ODI World Cup as well, so you could have tried him in the same position in T20i’s as well. You made him play down the order even in Test matches against South Africa. However, you said you needed to make some changes at least,” the 46-year-old added.

According to the report from Indian Express, KL Rahul was not selected in the T20i squad for the Afghanistan series as the selectors gave preference to other players over him. The 31-year-old has mainly played as an opener in his T20I career, but Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill’s presence in the team, along with the return of Rohit Sharma, make it tough for Rahul to play as an opener.

Punjab Kings wicketkeeper Batsman Jitesh Sharma and Rajasthan Royals skipper Sanju Samson have been given preference over KL Rahul for the roles of wicketkeeper and finisher against Afghanistan. But if the 31-year-old performs the role of wicketkeeper and finisher for the Lucknow SuperGiants to perfection in the upcoming IPL 2024, then he will get a chance to make a strong case for himself to get selected in the Men in Blue’s squad for the 2024 T20 World Cup.

Read: ICC Men’s T20I Batting Rankings: Suryakumar Yadav Still Number 1 With A Massive Lead

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