Has KL Rahul successfully recovered from a thigh injury? Why Yuzvendra Chahal was not named in India’s Asia Cup squad? Newly-appointed chief selector Ajit Agarkar answered several buzzing questions in his first media interaction since taking charge. Accompanied by captain Rohit Sharma, the former cricketer announced Team India’s star-studded Asia Cup squad in a blockbuster press conference on Monday.
During his interaction with reporters in the national capital, Agarkar opted to clear the air on Rahul’s recovery and his much-awaited return to the Indian side. Though India have named Rahul in its squad, the star batter has developed a niggle which is not related to his thigh injury. Addressing the media in the press conference, Agarkar confirmed that Rahul is carrying a niggle and star batter Sanju Samson has been named as his backup for the Asia Cup.
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‘The answer about KL Rahul was important’
Reflecting on the Asia Cup squad announcement of the Indian team, former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar lauded chief selector Agarkar for the ‘candid’ interaction with the media. Manjrekar was mighty impressed with Agarkar as the chief selector provided a crucial update on Rahul’s return and further explained the role of Samson. “The answer about KL Rahul was important that a niggle has emerged along with the injury that he had recovered from and that is why they have that extra keeper. That kind of detail sharing of information is what you need. I hope they remain as candid. Nice articulation of all the decisions that were taken,” Manjrekar said.
‘I did enjoy the honesty and the transparency’
Former Australian cricketer Tom Moody also praised Agarkar for answering the burning questions regarding India’s Asia Cup squad. “I did enjoy the honesty and the transparency that came across in that press conference. Communication is really important. At times, there can be that sort of cloak-and-dagger press conference where you have these hidden messages. Then really you walk out of a press conference no clearer than what you did when you walked into it,” Moody said.
India’s Asia Cup squad
India’s middle order has been the Achilles heel for the World Cup hosts. Rahul, who didn’t play competitive cricket since the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, has been added to the squad as a wicketkeeper-batter. Superstar Ishan Kishan has been roped in as a backup opener to Rohit and Shubman Gill. India have also picked rising star Tilak Varma, who is uncapped in the 50-over format. The upcoming edition of the Asia Cup will also mark the return of pacer Jasprit Bumrah in ODIs. Former champions India will meet arch-rivals Pakistan in its Asia Cup opener on September 2.