INDvNZ: KL Rahul set to return for Tests, Hardik Pandya for ODIs

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Virat Kohli has said that it's difficult to leave a player like Rahul from any squad. (AP)

With a superb match-winning show at Rajkot, KL Rahul has proved his mettle at every number he batted in recent times. From being an opener in Shikhar Dhawan's absence to being a middle-order batsman in Dhawan's return and a wicketkeeper in Rishabh Pant's concussion, KL Rahul has been up to the mark. This makes him the firm favourite to get his place back in the red ball team even as selectors fret on all-rounder Hardik Pandya's fitness before picking ODI and Test squads for the New Zealand tour on Sunday.

KL had lost his place in the Test squad after tour of Australia. But as skipper Virat Kohli said that it's difficult to leave a player like Rahul from any squad, he has a better chance than fit-again Prithvi Shaw or Subman Gill who was reserve Test opener during home series last season. The other change in the Test squad could be fast-rising Navdeep Saini going as an extra pacer rather than Kuldeep Yadav as the third spinner since only one among Ravichandran Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja will make the playing XI.

Indian bowler Kuldeep Yadav, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul in Rajkot against Australia. (PTI)

Similarly, Indian team management is eagerly waiting for Hardik to become "bowling fit" for white-ball matches post back surgery and will be an automatic choice for ODIs if fit.

He had failed the mandatory "bowling workload test" after which his personal trainer S Rajnikanth advised him to pull out of India A's shadow tour.
In case, Hardik can't make it, selectors might either look at hitting prowess of Suryakumar Yadav since the ODIs in the Kiwiland will be an extension of T20s in World Cup year.

There is also a possibility that Ajinkya Rahane will be considered due to his better technique compared to Kedar Jadhav who is slowly falling off in pecking order.

With PTI Inputs