Venkatesh poses with Suniel Shetty, takes dig at himself in message for Rahul | Cricket

Despite being a staunch critic of KL Rahul, former Indian cricketer Venkatesh Prasad said that he ‘secretly prayed’ for the wicketkeeper-batter, who will be making his comeback in the Asia Cup 2023. On Monday, superstar batter Rahul was named in Team India’s 17-man squad for the upcoming continental event which is scheduled to get underway on August 30 in Multan. Interestingly, former vice-captain Rahul made it to the Asia Cup squad despite carrying a niggle.

Venkatesh Prasad revealed that he secretly prayed for KL Rahul’s success(Venkatesh Prasad Twitter-AP)

A day after Rahul was picked by the Indian think tank for the showpiece event, former Indian pacer Prasad shared a picture with celebrated actor Suniel Shetty, who is the father-in-law of the star cricketer. The former Indian fast bowler revealed that the duo paid a special visit to the Swami Narayan temple in New Jersey.

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‘Secretly prayed for KL Rahul’

Taking to X (previously known as Twitter) on Tuesday, Prasad said that he wants Rahul to silence his critics in the World Cup. “Visited the Swami Narayan temple in New Jersey with Anna. Prayed for the well-being of all Bharatvasis & for the Indian Team to do well in the World Cup. Also secretly prayed for KL to smash it to all corners, have a great world cup, and silence his critics like me. Sab khush rahein. (Hope everybody is happy),” Prasad said.

Not long ago, Prasad had launched a scathing attack on Rahul after the star batter failed to fire for Team India in the high-profile Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Rahul was also removed from Team India’s vice-captaincy post after his batting slump in Test cricket. Rahul then suffered an injury while fielding for Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 match against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on 1 May. Indian batter Rahul was ruled out of the entire IPL 2023 and the star batter missed the summit clash of the ICC World Test Championship due to a thigh injury.

The 32-year-old has not played competitive cricket since the IPL 2023. Announcing India’s squad for the Asia Cup, chief selector Ajit Agarkar revealed that Rahul has developed a niggle prior to his return. “It is not the original injury. There is a niggle. That is why Sanju is travelling (to Sri Lanka). We are expecting Rahul to be fit. If not the start of Asia Cup may be by the second or the third game. Shreyas Iyer is fully fit,” Agarkar said.

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