India’s first true training session on Friday in Alur have a peak into their plans for the tournament opener against Pakistan next month.
Indian cricket team, bound to leave for Sri Lanka for the Asia Cup tournament on August 30, assembled at at the Karnataka State Cricket Association’s (KSCA) Three Ovals campus in Alur on Thursday for a six-day camp in preparation for the continental event which will be followed by the ODI World Cup at home. One of the main questions heading into the two big tournaments has been India’s batting order. With the likes of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer making a return to the side following a long injury layoff, and amid the rising call for Virat Kohli to play at No.4 from Ravi Shastri and AB de Villiers, the batting order for the Asia Cup remains one of the major questions. But India’s first true training session on Friday in Alur have a peak into their plans for the tournament opener against Pakistan next month.
One of the notable highlights of India’s Asia Cup squad announcement has been the inclusion of Rahul and Iyer. Rahul was been out of action since May when he had incurred a hamstring injury during IPL 2023 and had to later undergo a surgery. Iyer has been on the sidelines since March this year with a lower back injury and had to go under the knife.
Having proven their fitness through practice matches at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru where they have been recovering for a while, the pair have been picked for the Asia Cup. But what will the batting order look for India now as they head to Asia Cup?
According to a report in Cricbuzz, India opted for a centre-wicket practice with batters being sent in pair. After Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer were sent, hence hinting towards India’s top-order combination. This also implies that Kohli will be batting at No. 3 for India amid the rising call for the batter to go one down in the order and solve India’s long-standing issue pertaining to the No. 4 batting spot.
Since the last ODI World Cup in 2019, Kohli has batted only once at No. 4, in the match against Australia in Wankhede in 2020 back when he was the skipper. Moreover, in the 29 times Kohli and Iyer have been part of the same line-up since 2018, he has always batted at No. 3 with Iyer evolving as a stable No.4 batter since the start of 2020, batting at 3 once and at 5 thrice.
If that was the top-four for India, Rahul, who was the cynosure of the practice session on Friday, walked in with Suryakumar Yadav as the next pair. Rahul has incurred a niggle ahead of his selection, as revealed by chief selector Ajit Agarkar, and hence he did not run between the wickets, but took on the likes of Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel and few other net bowlers with no discomfort as Rohit and Agarkar looked on.
As Rahul smashed boundaries against the pacers and showed impressive footwork against the spinners, Ishan Kishan performed wicketkeeping drills with fielding coach T Dilip.