KL Rahul hasn’t yet been declared fit by the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore and a call will be taken on his availability for the Asia Cup once he participates in a practice match on Sunday or Monday.
India’s less-than-dominant performance in the West Indies has made the team management keen on Rahul’s return since they feel a solid No.4 batter will provide the much-needed cushion to the middle-order.
Sources told The Telegraph that how Rahul shows up at the 50-over practice match and the recovery will determine his fate in the Asia Cup. Rahul had undergone surgery for an injury on his right thigh in June.
While Rahul has been going through the fitness drills besides batting and wicketkeeping, the NCA medical team wants to assess how he comes through in a match before giving the national selectors the go-ahead to pick him in the squad for the Asia Cup. India’s first match is on September 2, against Pakistan.
Shreyas Iyer though is far from attaining match fitness. His chances in the World Cup rest on how he shapes up in the next fortnight. The provisional squad for the showpiece event has to be announced a month before the opening match on October 5.
Head coach Rahul Dravid is eager to get Rahul back in the team keeping the balance factor in mind. NCA chief VVS Laxman has been personally monitoring Rahul’s progress and doesn’t wish to take any risk by rushing him into international cricket.
The No.4 slot had proved to be an Achilles heel for India during the last World Cup in England as well. India experimented a lot in the run-up to the 2019 edition with Vijay Shankar being preferred ahead of Ambati Rayudu because of his “3-D skills”.
India began with Rahul at No.4 before relying on Hardik Pandya for a few matches. Shankar then took up the position until Rishabh Pant was made to occupy the slot.
The current team management is ready to include Rahul as a specialist batter in the Asia Cup while handing keeping duties to Ishan Kishan.