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Rahul and Shreyas Iyer’s Return Hopes Soar as NCA Practice Video Surfaces Ahead of Asia Cup Selection
On Monday, one of Rishabh Pant’s Instagram stories went viral throughout social media, thrilling Indian cricket team supporters. Just days before the Ajit Agarkar-led selection committee decided on the Indian team for the Asia Cup, the post included exclusive video from the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, where injured batting combo KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer were seen practicing for a match.
Rahul, who had thigh surgery earlier this summer, and Shreyas Iyer, who underwent surgery for a lower-back stress fracture, were seen batting together in a practice match in the stifling Bengaluru heat in the video, which surfaced just hours after India head coach Rahul Dravid hinted at their return for the Asia Cup. Rahul had a thigh surgery earlier this summer. The specifics of the match simulation, like whether Rahul also maintained wickets for 50 overs, have not yet been made public.
The selection committee would only take Rahul and Shreyas Iyer into consideration if they can play for the whole of a 50-over game, which entails participating in a match simulation, according to a report in PTI. Additionally, they must demonstrate more than just their hitting prowess. Shreyas Iyer will have to field for 50 overs and Rahul will have to demonstrate that he is physically capable of keeping wicket for that long.
Rahul was at the non-striker’s end in the video Pant tweeted of Iyer playing the cover drive against a quick bowler.
What is BCCI’s position on Rahul and Iyer being chosen for the Asia Cup following the viral NCA video?
The selection committee is willing to hold off a little longer to give Iyer and Rahul the full opportunity to demonstrate their fitness for the Asia Cup, which starts on August 31 and continues through September 2. However, India have their first match on September 2 in Sri Lanka. The selectors are expected to gather in Mumbai this week to determine the final 15 for the Asia Cup, so the two teams are in a race against time.
Speaking to PTI, a BCCI source said that while NCA might eventually deem Iyer and Rahul fit for the Asia Cup, selectors are still debating whether it would be risky to include them in the squad for such a significant tournament where they will play Pakistan in their opening game.
“Keeping 50 overs in the sweltering heat of Sri Lanka would be taxing, and the NCA can only certify him as fit if he can put on the huge gloves without any obvious difficulty. Additionally, they haven’t played anything, so the pressure from their first international match against Pakistan (on September 2) may be a little too high. But again, time is of the essence, according to a BCCI insider following the situation.