Team India’s middle-order batter KL Rahul will be missing the first two games of the upcoming 2023 Asia Cup.
The development means that Rahul has been ruled out from the group stage of the continental tournament, which will be played in the 50-over format this time.
Initially, Rahul was named in India’s 18-member squad for the tournament after undergoing rehab at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. Notably, the right-handed batter had suffered a thigh injury during IPL 2023 and later underwent a surgery in England.
Following his recovery at the NCA, he joined India squad for a preparatory camp in Alur (Karnataka) which concluded on Tuesday. However, India head coach Rahul Dravid has informed that despite the progress made, Rahul will be missing the games against Pakistan and Nepal.
“He (KL Rahul) has had a really good week with us, really trained well, he is progressing well on the route we want to take but he will be unavailable for the Kandy leg of the trip,” Dravid told reporters on Tuesday.
“The NCA will be looking after him for the next few days while we are travelling. We will reassess on the 4th and then take it from there. But the signs are looking good and he is progressing really well,” he added.
Significantly, the Men In Blue will kick-off their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on September 2 in Pallekele before facing minnows Nepal on September 4.
The team management had been working hard over the fitness of their middle-order duo of Rahul and Shreyas Iyer for months now. Notably, Iyer too, underwent back surgery which kept him out of action for a significant period.
Dravid said the team management is taking a ‘cautious approach’ with respect to Rahul’s recovery however, Iyer has ticked all the boxes and he only needs match practice now.
“(Iyer) Looked pretty good (during the preparatory camp). It’s all about giving him more game time, hopefully it will come in Asia Cup. In terms of fitness he has done really well, has batted really well, ticked all the boxes,” Dravid said.
“Both Rahul and Shreyas are in the same boat. Slightly cautious approach with KL. We are hoping he will only miss first two games and will be available for the latter part of the tour (Asia Cup),” he added.
The Asia Cup will begin from August 30 with hosts Pakistan taking on Nepal in Multan.