KL Rahul is unlikely to travel to the West Indies for the five-match T20I series, as earlier anticipated. ESPNcricinfo understands that though the isolation period for Rahul, who had tested positive for Covid-19 last week, ends today, he has been advised one more week's rest and recuperation by the BCCI's medical professionals.
Rahul had been recovering at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru since undergoing a sports hernia surgery in late June. He was understood to be a doubt for the T20I leg of the West Indies tour even if he returned the two mandatory negative tests.
Depending on the outcome of his cardiovascular tests, Rahul could have been in consideration for the USA leg of the West Indies T20Is, on August 6 and 7. But now it appears certain that he will skip the tour altogether and instead focus on the ODIs in Zimbabwe, which are part of the World Cup Super League. India have already qualified for the 2023 ODI World Cup by virtue of being the hosts of the tournament.
The ODI series will finish less than a week before the start of the 2022 Asia Cup, which will be played between August 27 and September 11 in the UAE.
Rahul's absence could mean an extended run as an opener for Rishabh Pant. India also have Ishan Kishan in the squad as another backup opener.
Rahul hasn't played any competitive cricket since the IPL 2022 Eliminator on May 25, when his team, Lucknow Super Giants, lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore in Kolkata. He was subsequently named captain for the five-match T20I series at home against South Africa, but picked up a right groin injury on the eve of the first match. That also ruled him out for the England tour.
After the sports hernia surgery, he was racing against time to prove his fitness for the West Indies T20Is. Now, it looks like he will have to wait for some more time for his comeback.
India are currently leading the three-match ODI series in the West Indies 2-0, with one match to go.