regular-article-logo Wednesday, 06 December 2023

KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer put to the test in practice match for Asia Cup spot

Asia Cup selection postponed as Agarkar-led committee aims for duo's full recovery; announcement expected this week in Mumbai

PTI New Delhi Published 14.08.23, 08:12 PM
KL Rahul (L) and Shreyas Iyer

KL Rahul (L) and Shreyas Iyer File Photo

The injured duo of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer on Monday were seen doing match simulation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, days ahead of the Indian team selection for the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka.

However, details haven't emerged whether Rahul has kept wickets for 50 overs, which is an absolute must to make it to the Indian squad for the World Cup.


Rahul, who underwent a thigh surgery, and Iyer, who went under the knife for lower-back stress fracture, were seen sweating it out during a practice match in gruelling Bengaluru heat.

In an instagram video, the duo could be seen batting together in a practice game.

It was already reported in PTI that the national selection committee under Ajit Agarkar will only select Rahul and Iyer if they happen to sustain the rigours of 50-over cricket, and for that they had to undergo match simulation.

In case of Rahul, the selectors would also like to check out if he is fit to keep wickets for 50 overs and Iyer also needs to be on the field for the entire duration in order to prove their respective match fitness. Only batting fitness might not ensure a place in the squad of 15.

In the video, Iyer was seen firmly pushing a delivery from a fast bowler in the cover region with Rahul at the non-striker's end. As it was simulation, a local umpire was summoned to officiate.

The NCA bigwigs are all tight-lipped about the fitness status but the Asia Cup team selection has been deferred because the Ajit Agarkar-led committee wants to give the duo the best chance to get fit before the continental showpiece. The squad is expected to be announced towards the middle or end of this week in Mumbai.

"Keeping 50 overs in Sri Lankan heat would take a toll and NCA can only give him fit certificate if he is able to don the big gloves without any apparent discomfort. Also, they haven't played anything and the first international game against Pakistan (on September 2) could be a bit too much of a pressure. But then time is of essence," a BCCI source tracking the developments said.

It is understood that while Tilak Varma has made an impression, the selection committee would like to exercise caution with regards to throwing the Hyderabad southpaw at the deep end of the pool.

"Yes, he has started well and he will surely play ODIs in future. But what if he is pushed too quickly and it turns out to be counter-productive. You can't play with young careers. Yes, he could be discussed but only if both Iyer and Rahul are ruled out," the source said.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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