As India look to wrap up the ongoing Twenty20 series in West Indies, finding the perfect squad for Asia Cup remains at the back of head coach Rahul Dravid’s mind. Deepak Hooda may have shone with impressive performances in limited chances, but the return of KL Rahul and Virat Kohli intensifies the top-3 competition, with struggling Shreyas Iyer also in the mix. Hooda and Iyer’s performance will be monitored closely, while Kohli faces a nightmarish batting slump in world cricket. For Rahul, regaining full match fitness will be of utmost importance, having missed a major chunk of cricket this year.
Rahul was left out of India’s squad for the Zimbabwe ODIs after aggravating his hamstring injury – a development that could also thwart his World T20 hopes. Former Pakistan tweaker Danish Kaneria feels the Indian batter should be kept as a standby option for the upcoming Asia Cup, beginning August 27.
“KL Rahul is a player who can play at any number. He is a fantastic fielder who can also do wicket-keeping. However, he has not played an international match since his injury,” said Kaneria on his YouTube channel.
“I’ve kept KL Rahul on stand-by because he has not played after the injury. You cannot start with him in such a big tournament after a long break. So give him some time till the T20 World Cup,” he added.
Earlier, Rahul had shared a note on Twitter, which explains just why he will not be touring for India’s next white-ball assignment after the T20Is in West Indies. “Hey guys. I wanted to clarify a couple of things about my health and fitness,” Rahul started off by saying.
“My surgery in June was successful, and I had begun training with the hope of returning to national duty for the team’s tour of West Indies. Unfortunately, as I was nearing a return to full fitness, I tested positive for Covid-19. This naturally pushed things back by a couple of weeks, but I aim to recover as quickly as possible and be available for selection as soon as I can.”
The Karnataka batter had flown to Germany for injury, having injured his groin that ruled him out of the South Africa series at home. After rehabilitation, Rahul was back training at the NCA.
Rahul added that he cannot wait to return to the side and do what he does best, contributing to India’s success. “To represent the National team is the highest honour, and I cannot wait to get back out there in blue. See you soon, KLR,” he concluded.