BCCI’s selection committee ended days of anticipation over the return of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer earlier this week when they announced the 17-member squad for the Asia Cup. Rahul and Iyer were both on the sidelines for the tour of West Indies, but were now deemed fit for the continental event. However, BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar made a worrisome revelation on Rahul, about a fresh injury he incurred, with his selection thereafter being heavily criticised. But almost a week before the blockbuster match against Pakistan in the Asia Cup, India have been handed a ground-breaking update on Rahul’s fitness.
Speaking to the media in New Delhi after the selection meeting on Asia Cup over an inquiry into the fitness level of Iyer and Rahul, Agarkar had revealed that while the former has become absolutely fit for participation, the latter has incurred a fresh injury during the practice games at the NCA. While he assured that the niggle wasn’t much of a scare, he revealed that the batter is likely to miss the first two games at the Asia Cup, implying both the group-stage ties against Pakistan and Nepal.
On Saturday, which is Day 3 of India’s practice camp at the Karnataka State Cricket Association’s (KSCA) Three Ovals campus in Alur for the Asia Cup, Rahul was spotted not just batting, but also performed wicketkeeping drills.
Having undergone an extended batting session on Day 2 of the camp where he did not just bat at the nets, but also paired up with Suryakumar Yadav as part of a match simulation, which the team management have adopted in preparation for the event. While he did not run between the wickets, he did not look in any discomfort in taking on the pacers and showing some great footwork against the spinners.
On Day 3 of the camp, Rahul was seen batting alongside captain Rohit Sharma in a centre-wicket practice before doing some extended wicket-keeping practice.
If Rahul is deemed fit for the Asia Cup opener, he will likely take his old batting position at No. 5 with Ishan Kishan remaining as the back-up option and Sanju Samson as a travelling reserve.
India open their Asia Cup campaign against Pakistan on September 2 in Pallekele before facing qualifier Nepal two days later at the same venue.