India skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday said fit-again opener Lokesh Rahul will be drafted back into the playing XI for the second Test against Sri Lanka, starting at the Sinhalese Sports Club here on Thursday. Kohli said Rahul, who was out of the first Test due to viral fever, has been a top performer for the team in the longest version of the game for the past two years and that players have to make way for him.
“KL Rahul has been our established opener. One of the openers will have to make way for Rahul. What he has done in the past two years for us is very solid and he deserves to come back and start fresh in Test cricket,” Kohli told reporters on the eve of the match.
Though Kohli said a final decision will be taken only during the team meeting after evening practice, he added that according to him, Rahul is back.
“We have a team meeting after the practice and we can clarify more after the meeting but according to me, KL is definitely coming back at the top order,” he said.
Asked about the wicket in Colombo, Kohli said that he saw a lot of grass on the wicket.
“There is a lot of grass. When you have a big squad there are a lot of possibilities. We don’t like to announce anything a day prior. It’s sort of a surprise for opposition. Looking at the conditions we can go with anyone. Everyone is prepared to take the field,” he said.
India took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series by winning the first Test in Galle by 304 runs.
Kohli said that it is a wicket that will produce a result.
“Last time around as well we thought it was a great wicket for Test cricket. Batsmen had to apply themselves to get runs, bowlers were in the game throughout. So it is a wicket that you will get a result on and that excites us.
“That is something we look forward to as a team. This is the kind of wicket we like to play on where we have to chance to make an impact on the game throughout,” he said.