In a significant update ahead of the forthcoming Asia Cup 2023, India’s skilled wicketkeeper-batter, KL Rahul, has been sidelined for the initial two matches of the tournament set to commence on Wednesday in Multan. Rahul’s omission from the lineup was confirmed by India’s Head Coach, Rahul Dravid, during an announcement on Tuesday. The 31-year-old cricketer, who had been selected for the squad following his recovery from injury, will be unavailable for the opening encounters against Pakistan and Nepal.
The confirmation of Rahul’s absence resonates with information shared earlier during the squad unveiling by Ajit Agarkar, the Chief Selector of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Agarkar, addressing the media, disclosed that Rahul had been grappling with a minor ailment, which had led to his omission from the initial fixtures of the Asia Cup.
In a recent update posted on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) conveyed, “The progress of KL Rahul’s recovery is encouraging, however, he will regrettably be absent for India’s initial encounters against Pakistan and Nepal in the #AsiaCup2023, as confirmed by Head Coach Rahul Dravid.”
The inclusion of KL Rahul in the squad for the continental tournament carried significant importance, marking a noteworthy milestone in his journey following an extended period of struggle with injury. Nevertheless, the recent development, coupled with the addition of Sanju Samson as a contingency measure, unfortunately did not provide reassurance to dispel concerns among stakeholders.
During the training camp underway in Alur, Karnataka, KL Rahul engaged in wicket-keeping practice on the preceding Saturday. Notably, he received assistance from the team’s captain, Rohit Sharma, as they worked on refining his wicket-keeping skills.
In addition to his wicket-keeping practice, KL Rahul participated in batting drills during the training session. He was partnered with Suryakumar Yadav, occupying the No. 5 and No. 6 positions in a simulated match scenario. This practice aimed to refine their batting techniques and adaptability within the team’s lineup.
During the practice session, the Indian team adopted a structured approach by employing set batting pairings. The opening combination consisted of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, followed by Virat Kohli and the recently returned Shreyas Iyer occupying the No. 4 position in the batting order. This approach aimed to establish consistency and familiarity within the batting lineup, enabling the players to develop a cohesive partnership and enhance their synergy.
The inaugural match of the Asia Cup will feature co-hosts Pakistan and Nepal, scheduled to take place in Multan on Wednesday. Subsequently, Team India will commence their campaign against their arch-rivals, Pakistan, on September 2nd in Kandy. This high-profile encounter will mark India’s entry into the tournament as they aim to make a strong start in their quest for success.