New Delhi: KL Rahul, India’s first-choice wicketkeeper-batter for the Asia Cup, will not be available for the first two matches at the tournament, against Pakistan and Nepal, head coach Rahul Dravid has confirmed.
Dravid said Rahul has been “progressing really well”, but won’t be ready in time for the group-stage fixtures against Pakistan (September 2) and Nepal (September 4), both of which will be played in Pallekele.
“KL has had a good week here [at India’s conditioning camp] with us. Trained well and done a lot of things. He’s progressing really well on the route that we want to take. But he will be unavailable for the Kandy leg of the trip,” Dravid said at India’s pre-departure press interaction in Bengaluru. “The NCA [National Cricket Academy] will be looking after him for the next few days while we are travelling. We will reassess on September 4 and take it from there. But signs are looking good and he’s progressing really well.”
When the squad for the Asia Cup was named, Rahul was deemed conditionally fit. While he had fully recovered from the thigh injury he sustained during IPL 2023, for which he underwent surgery followed by a comprehensive rehabilitation at the NCA, Rahul was understood to have picked up a minor niggle that made him a doubtful starter for the early parts of the Asia Cup. This was later confirmed by chief selector Ajit Agarkar at the press conference to announce the squad last week.
The medical team at the NCA in Bengaluru is understood to have been happy with Rahul’s batting workload, but was monitoring his wicketkeeping; he is understood to have complained of soreness after one of the practice matches organised by the NCA last week.
Dravid also informed that batter Shreyas Iyer is fit and has “ticked all the boxes” during the practice session.
“Shreyas Iyer has ticked all the boxes in the practice session. We’ll give him game time in the Asia Cup,” said Dravid.
Taking to X (formerly Twitter), BCCI wrote, “KL Rahul is progressing really well but will not be available for India’s first two matches – against Pakistan and Nepal – of the #AsiaCup2023: Head Coach Rahul Dravid.