In a disheartening turn of events for the Indian cricket team ahead of the Asia Cup 2023, their prolific middle-order batsman KL Rahul has been sidelined from the opening encounters of the tournament. Rahul, who has been honing his skills with the Indian team in Alur, will not be ready for action in the first two matches, dealing a significant blow to India’s campaign.
The announcement came from none other than India’s revered head coach Rahul Dravid, who addressed the media in a press conference. As India braces to take on Pakistan on September 2, followed by a face-off with Nepal on September 4, Dravid shared the unfortunate update on Rahul’s condition. “KL Rahul is making notable progress but regrettably, he won’t be available for India’s initial matches against Pakistan and Nepal in the Asia Cup 2023,” Dravid expressed.
However, a glimmer of hope emerged as Dravid elaborated that Rahul’s status will be reevaluated on September 4, just before the potential Super Four stage of the tournament, contingent upon India’s qualification. “During our travels, KL Rahul will be under the care of the NCA for the next few days. We plan to reassess his condition on September 4, and then chart our course of action. The signs are positive, and his recovery is on track,” Dravid assured.
Shifting the focus to another crucial aspect, Dravid confirmed the readiness of Shreyas Iyer, whose fitness journey has culminated in his preparedness for the upcoming Asian tournament. “Shreyas Iyer has met all the criteria during our practice sessions. He is poised to participate in the Asia Cup and will be granted game time,” Dravid affirmed.
KL Rahul’s recent return from a thigh injury incurred during the IPL saw him undergo surgery in London in May. While his primary injury has healed, chief selector Ajit Agarkar disclosed during the Asia Cup squad announcement that a recent niggle posed a fresh challenge. “KL Rahul is managing a niggle, but we anticipate his full fitness by the second or third match of the Asia Cup. Consequently, Sanju Samson will travel as a backup player,” Agarkar conveyed during the August 21 press conference.
The current 17-member Indian squad has convened in Alur for an intensive six-day training camp, engaging in rigorous net sessions and match simulations. Rahul was spotted dedicating himself to batting and wicket-keeping drills. The commencement of the camp saw fitness assessments, including the demanding Yo-Yo test. The subsequent days witnessed Rahul’s return to batting practice and light wicket-keeping exercises, reflecting his determination to reclaim his place on the field.