Recovering Rahul won’t be fit in time for India’s first two Asia Cup games

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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 confirmed at a press conference prior to the start of the tournament.

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 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 will be looking after him for the next few days while we are travelling. We will reassess on the 4th (September) 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 only 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 at least the first two Asia Cup games. This was confirmed by chief selector Ajit Agarkar at the press conference to announce the squad last week.

As reported by ESPNcricinfo on August 24, the medical team at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru was 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.

India have Ishan Kishan as a wicketkeeping option in the squad, while Sanju Samson has been named as a travelling reserve.

More to follow…

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