As India progresses through the Asia Cup, the fitness of key player Shreyas Iyer is keeping the team management on edge. With a Super 4 match against Bangladesh on the horizon, followed by the much-anticipated final on Sunday, the right-hander’s availability remains uncertain.
Mixed Reports from Practice Session
In a recent optional practice session, Shreyas Iyer participated, albeit with a visible focus on strengthening and conditioning with coach Soham Desai. However, reports from journalists present in Colombo present a mixed picture. While some suggest he may be available for the Bangladesh clash, others noted signs of stiffness in his back, casting doubts over his participation.
Shreyas Iyer’s back issues have resurfaced during the Asia Cup. Although he played against Pakistan and Nepal in the group stage, he has been absent in the Super 4 fixtures against Pakistan and Sri Lanka due to back spasms. This ailment initially emerged during a warm-up session right before the Pakistan match.
Concerns for India’s World Cup Plans
Iyer’s recurring back problems raise concerns, especially since he is a crucial part of India’s World Cup plans. His presence in the practice sessions is a source of reassurance for the team management. However, if the skipper Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid decide to give Iyer more time to recover, they may consider alternatives like Ishan Kishan or Suryakumar Yadav.
While Ishan Kishan has made an impressive start in ODIs, Suryakumar Yadav‘s performance in the format has been less stellar. Despite this, Yadav is regarded as an essential asset in India’s limited-overs setup, and the team’s think tank may opt to provide him with another opportunity to make his case.
Selection Committee’s Decision
The BCCI selection committee is expected to announce the squad for the upcoming Australia series shortly. If doubts persist regarding Iyer’s fitness, selectors face a crucial decision as these three ODIs represent the last opportunity to finalise the XI before the World Cup. In such a scenario, Tilak Varma could be a likely replacement, given his left-handed batting style and valuable bowling skills.
Tilak Varma, who debuted in T20Is in the West Indies, is yet to play an ODI match. His proficiency in both batting and bowling, particularly his effectiveness against left-handers, makes him a strong contender. Varma’s dedication in the nets during the Asia Cup and his consistent efforts in honing his skills have not gone unnoticed.
In the lead-up to crucial matches, India’s practice session saw most of the first-XI players opting to skip the session. With India already securing their spot in the final, changes in the playing XI for the upcoming match are plausible, offering opportunities for other players to showcase their abilities.