Prior to the departure of the Indian cricket team for the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, Chief Coach Rahul Dravid has given an update on the fitness of K.L. Rahul and Shreyas Iyer. On Tuesday (August 29), the head coach mentioned that he is satisfied with the fitness of K.L. Rahul and Shreyas Iyer. Both players have displayed impressive batting during the practice sessions. Dravid also mentioned that K.L. Rahul will not be playing in the first two matches of the Asia Cup. However, there are hopes for his return after that. India’s initial matches include facing Pakistan on September 2 and Nepal on September 4. Both matches will be played in T20 format. This implies that Rahul won’t be participating in the group stage matches. If Team India makes it to the Super 4, he will join the team on the field.
Rahul Dravid stated, “K.L. Rahul has showcased excellent batting skills and is also taking up wicketkeeping duties. Currently, he will remain in the NCA (National Cricket Academy). We will assess his fitness again on September 4. If he recovers well, he will join the team for Sri Lanka. We expect him to be fully back after the two matches. We are not overly concerned about this matter.”
Will Rahul be used in the Asia Cup?
Dravid said, “There has been much discussion about the fourth and fifth positions. We can tell you that over the past 18 months, we had three players in rotation for this position—Shreyas Iyer, K.L. Rahul, and Rishabh Pant. Unfortunately, all three got injured within two months. Surgeries were performed on all of them. In this scenario, we had to consistently try out different players. We had to prepare for the World Cup. We don’t know what will happen in the World Cup. Therefore, we had to provide continuous opportunities to two to three players in this position. When your key players are not available, you have to give chances to others.”
Rohit Sharma’s Decision is Final In recent years, the Indian team has seen several captains. After Virat Kohli, apart from Rohit Sharma, limited-overs captaincy has been handed to Shikhar Dhawan, K.L. Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, and Jasprit Bumrah. Dhawan and Pant are not in the Asia Cup squad. Regarding this, the head coach said, “We have several experienced players in our team. Some have been captains before, and some have captained recently. In today’s times, there is a lot of cricket being played. Keeping that in mind, we are rotating. Many players have experience, which is good. The final decision lies with Rohit Sharma.”
Pressure of World Cup on Home Ground?
The head coach said, “Playing the World Cup on home ground will be a good experience. There will be pressure from the spectators. We all know that.”
India’s first match in the World Cup will be against Australia on October 8. Prior to that, the tournament will kick off with a match between England and New Zealand at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 5. The final match is scheduled for November 19, also in Ahmedabad.