Why KL Rahul not playing today: Why Umran Malik is not playing today’s 1st ODI at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium?

Dixit Bhargav
|Published 18/01/2023

India opening batters Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill have once again started the innings on an affirmative note. A brisk start consisting of both the batters playing eye-catching shots against the new ball in the first powerplay has provided enough signs of them joining hands for another substantial partnership.

Considering how they have provided India with solid starts this year, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Sharma and Gill make the most of their current form in order to lay a solid foundation for the others to follow in the ongoing first ODI against New Zealand in Hyderabad.

If truth be told, India need both Sharma and Gill to contribute at the start especially if they are to beat this opposition in this format for the first time in almost four years.

Why is KL Rahul not playing today vs New Zealand?

Notwithstanding whitewashing Sri Lanka 3-0 recently, India have had to make three changes to their Playing XI for this match. As a result, batter Shreyas Iyer, wicket-keeper batter KL Rahul and all-rounder Axar Patel aren’t playing at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium today.

While Iyer is injured, it is worth a mention that Rahul and Patel aren’t part of the ODI squad for this series due to “family commitments”. While nothing official has come up for now, it is being speculated that both Rahul and Patel are getting married this month. It is due to the same reason that Patel isn’t part of the T20I squad as well.

Wicket-keeper batter Ishan Kishan, vice-captain Hardik Pandya and all-rounder Shardul Thakur have replaced the above mentioned trio in the Indian Playing XI on Wednesday. While Pandya had played a couple of ODIs against Sri Lanka, both Kishan and Thakur are playing their first ODI since India’s tour of Bangladesh last month.

With an in-form Gill in the XI, Kishan didn’t get to open the batting but a utility cricketer such as him can contribute in the middle-order as well. Thakur, meanwhile, has been given a go ahead of fast bowler Umran Malik for unknown reasons. It is noteworthy that Malik had done well against Sri Lanka earlier this month. Hence, Thakur has joined Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj in a three-member pace attack.

Share this article
About the author
Dixit Bhargav

Dixit Bhargav

Born and brought up in Pathankot, Dixit Bhargav is an engineering and sports management graduate who is currently into his fifth year as a Cricket Editor at The SportsRush. His first cricketing memory dates back to 2002 when former India captain Sourav Ganguly had waved his jersey at the historic Lord’s balcony. What followed for an 8-year-old was an instant adulation for both Ganguly and the sport. The optimist in him is waiting for the day when Punjab Kings will win their maiden Indian Premier League title. When not watching cricket, he is mostly found in a cinema hall watching a Punjabi movie.

Read more from Dixit Bhargav