Asia Cup 2023

KL Rahul ruled out of first two Asia Cup 2023 matches against Pakistan and Nepal: India head coach Rahul Dravid

This means, KL Rahul will only be available at the Super 4 stage if India qualifies. Ishan Kishan is set to play as the keeper-batter against Pakistan and Nepal.

India wicketkeeper-batter KL Rahul won’t be available for the first two matches of the Asia Cup 2023, said India head coach Rahul Dravid on Tuesday. India starts its campaign against Pakistan on September 2. Their next group match is against Nepal on September 4.

“KL Rahul is progressing really well but will not be available for India’s first two matches—against Pakistan and Nepal—of the Asia Cup under Head Coach Rahul Dravid, the BCCI tweeted, quoting head coach Dravid.

Dravid made the comments after the final day of India’s training camp at Alur in Bengaluru. “The NCA will be looking after him for the next few days while we are traveling. We will reassess on the 4th (September) and take it from there. But signs are looking good. He will be unavailable for the first two games,” Dravid added.

This means, Rahul will only be available from the Super 4 stage if India qualify. Ishan Kishan is set to play as the keeper-batter against Pakistan and Nepal.

There was always a doubt over Rahul’s availability for the first couple of games. BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar had confirmed that the right-hander, who was making a comeback into the Indian side after a long injury lay-off, has developed a ‘niggle’ unrelated to the original thigh injury that kept him away for months

Although Rahul attended the six-day fitness and medical camp at Alur along with the rest of the Asia Cup-bound players, he did not take the yo-yo fitness test.

A right-thigh injury suffered during an IPL league match kept Rahul away from the action for quite some time. He underwent surgery in London and since then has spent long hours at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru along with two other first-XI players Shreyas Iyer and Jasprit Bumrah.

While Bumrah and Iyer regained full fitness – the former even led India in a three-match T20I series against Ireland – Rahul, unfortunately developed a new injury.

The Indian team management, however, is confident of getting Rahul’s services back after the Super 4 stage of the Asia Cup.

Who will keep wickets in place of KL Rahul?

Also Read: Mohammad Rizwan suffers silly run-out while avoiding throw, angry Babar Azam reacts by throwing cap

Rahul’s absence for the first two matches will pose interesting selection headaches for captain Rohit Sharma and coach Dravid. Rahul’s availability is of utmost importance for India’s balance. He not only keeps wickets but also bats in the crucial No. 5 spot.

There is Sanju Samson, traveling as his backup, but Kishan is likely to take the gloves in the XI. In that case, it will be interesting to see where the left-hander bats. A straight swap between him and Rahul in the middle-order solves all the problems for India and also gives them the option of fielding a left-hander to break the pattern.

But Kishan is someone who is an out-and-out opener and has rarely found success when asked to bat down the order. What are the other options for India?

If they do decide to open with Kishan and Rohit Sharma then it would mean Shubman Gill has to slide down. And maybe even Virat Kohli. Former head coach Ravi Shastri has already floated the idea of asking Kohli to bat at four. But that would mean giving fewer overs to arguably the best No.3 in the world. It would also jeopardise India’s original batting-order of Kohli at three, and Iyer at four.

Become a Trendsetter

Sign up for TotalCric’s Daily Digest and get the best of Cricket News, tailored for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *