India opener KL Rahul was ruled out of the two-match Test series against New Zealand with a muscle strain on his left thigh, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Tuesday. The first Test will kick off on November 25 at Green Park, Kanpur. 

Suryakumar Yadav could be handed his Test cap when India faces New Zealand over the next two weeks. The No 3 batsman was named as the replacement for KL Rahul, who will now undergo rehabilitation at NCA in preparation for the series against South Africa scheduled next month, the board said. 

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Rahul was missing from the Indian team’s customary practice session, attended by almost all the players at the Green Park stadium on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old Rahul has featured in 40 Tests, scoring 2321 runs at an average of 35.16. His highest score was 199 that came against England in Chennai in 2016.

Shubman Gill was seen opening the batting along with Mayank Agarwal during the team’s net session as Cheteshwar Pujara, the vice captain for the series-opener, also batted.

There is a strong possibility that either Shreyas Iyer or Suryakumar Yadav will make his Test debut and bat in the middle order.

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Young batter Shubman was expected to bat in the middle order but now in the absence of Rahul, he will be asked to play in his usual opening slot.

India’s updated Test squad: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha, KS Bharat, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Md Siraj, Prasidh Krishna