Parthiv praised for opening stint, Rahul set to return


KL Rahul looks set to return for India's fourth Test against England, but head coach Anil Kumble has praised the efforts of the man who stood in at the top of the order in Mohali, wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.

Having been handed a first Test call-up in more than eight years with first-choice stumper Wriddhiman Saha unavailable, Parthiv found himself promoted to open in the previous match when Rahul was also ruled out through injury.

Rahul, who was hit on the arm when fielding in the second Test, took part in training on Tuesday and is expected to regain his place in Mumbai this week at the expense of Karun Nair.

Kumble is looking forward to having his first-choice opening pair of Rahul and Murali Vijay together again, as India seek to wrap up a series win with a third successive victory.

Yet the 46-year-old was hugely impressed by Parthiv, who made 109 runs across two innings on his return to the team and is in line to keep his place with Saha still not fully fit.

"I was really pleased that he could walk into the match and not just keep wicket and bat at six or seven but, when he was asked to open, he put his hand up and did that really well," said Kumble in a news conference.

"That goes to show the character of the player, to say 'team comes above self'. He was not worried about failing.

"When you are coming into the team, making a comeback after eight years, you always want to do well for yourself but here was Parthiv who was willing to put his hand up and said 'I don't mind opening'. And he did that really well.

"Even when he first came in as a 17-year-old, 16-year-old - and I think if you shave the beard off, he'll still look 16 - he has showed a lot of maturity."

Rahul trained on Tuesday and Kumble said the Karnataka opener "should be fine" for the start of the Mumbai Test on Thursday.

"Injuries are part and parcel of the game and unfortunately Rahul got hit while he was fielding in Vizag and that's how he got the injury," added the coach.

"Ideally, that [Rahul and Vijay] is the settled opening pair that you would want, but I think in the circumstances we have done really well. Parthiv came in for the last game and did a fantastic job at the top."