regular-article-logo Tuesday, 05 December 2023

KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer bat but posers remain ahead of Asia Cup 2023

India open their campaign against Pakistan on September 2

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 26.08.23, 08:35 AM
KL Rahul with head coach Rahul Dravid.

KL Rahul with head coach Rahul Dravid. File photo

KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer went through batting sessions with the rest of the players during the second day of the conditioning camp in Alur, near Bangalore.

It was learnt that Rahul and Iyer, coming off a long layoff following right thigh and back surgeries, respectively, didn’t need to run between the wickets because the session involved only batting at the centre square. Players were sent to bat in pairs in keeping with the batting order.


Team India captain Rohit Sharma, head coach Rahul Dravid and chief selector Ajit Agarkar monitored how the two ‘comeback men’ spent time in the middle.

Rahul is nursing a niggle, as informed by Agarkar after the selection committee meeting in New Delhi, while Iyer is assumed to be “fully fit”. Neither player went through the mandatory Yo-Yo test to gauge their fitness parameters on Thursday.

Ishan Kishan underwent wicketkeeping drills with fielding coach T. Dilip but Rahul didn’t take part in any other activity besides batting.

The team management is keen on including Rahul and Iyer in the XI since it’s a solution for the headache over India’s No.4 and 5 batting positions. Familiarity with the conditions and team environment is also expected to help the returning players.

The six-day camp will end on Tuesday and the squad will leave for the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka the next day. India open their campaign against Pakistan on September 2.

Day One involved mainly fitness drills and the Yo-Yo tests. There was no official confirmation except for Virat Kohli, who announced in a social media post that he had scored 17.2, but it is understood that most had done reasonably well.

Those returning from Ireland — Jasprit Bumrah, Prasidh Krishna and Tilak Varma along with standby Sanju Samson — are expected to join the camp on Saturday.

The batting practice on Friday was mostly about match simulation sessions with openers Rohit and Shubman Gill facing up to the fast bowlers --- Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur.

Iyer walked out to bat with Kohli and faced pacers and spinners.

While Iyer reportedly looked comfortable while batting, the absence of running between the wickets didn’t test them to the hilt. Rahul was paired with Suryakumar Yadav and the batting order reflected the team management’s preferences.

How the two pull up after an intense session in sweltering heat besides their batting workload will be closely monitored in the coming days.

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