India’s squads for the third and fourth Test matches of the ongoing series against Australia were announced recently, and the major highlight was the absence of the vice-captain tag from KL Rahul’s name. This confirms that the selectors have decided to remove the extra burden from the shoulders of the out-of-form Rahul.

According to reports, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has left it to India skipper Rohit Sharma to name India’s next vice-captain in Tests.

“It was decided not to name any vice-captain. Instead, power was given to Rohit Sharma. Who will lead the side in case he has to leave the field is Rohit Sharma’s call,” a source told The Indian Express.

Rahul’s form has been a hot topic of debate among pundits and fans alike. He has had the backing of India coach Rahul Dravid, but the wicketkeeper-batter has amassed only 117 runs in his last nine Test innings, at a poor average of 13.

“I think he needs to trust his processes. This is just a phase. He has been one of our most successful overseas openers. He has hundreds in South Africa and England. We’ll continue to back him,” Dravid told the official broadcaster after the second Test match.

23-year-old Shubman Gill, who has been in the form of his life in all formats over the period of the last one year, has been sitting on the bench due to the constant backing Rahul has been getting in this Border-Gavaskar Series. Gill has centuries in all formats of the game now and looks ready to be a regular in the Indian set-up.

Rahul, on the other hand, has looked very rusty in this series. Although he looked quite well in the first Test in Nagpur, he was dismissed for 20 after toiling hard for 71 deliveries. His returns in the Delhi Test were even worse as he was dismissed for 1 and 17 in the two innings.

The 30-year-old has always been highly talked about owing to his skillset as a batter, but he hasn’t been able to fulfill his potential and deliver on his promise consistently for a long period of time. After a career spanning 47 Test matches, Rahul has a middle average of 33.14, which doesn’t do justice to his potential as a batter at all.

Time is now running out for him with so many players waiting in the wings. Will he be able to turn it around? Only time will tell.

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