BCCI Chief Selector Ajit Agarkar's remark on KL Rahul's fresh injury ahead of Asia Cup clarified amid heavy criticism from experts
KL Rahul's return to the Indian team for the 2023 Asia Cup was among the notable selections. The India wicketkeeper-batsman has been out of action since May, when he hurt his hamstring during the IPL 2023. He had surgery to fix the problem and is now healing at the National Cricket Academy.
But BCCI head selector Ajit Agarkar said that Rahul has a new injury scare, even though he was chosen for the continental event, which is a month before the ODI World Cup. Most experts were not happy with what was revealed.
But on Friday, Star Sports, the Asia Cup hosts, explained what Agarkar meant by what he said.
After a long meeting in New Delhi this week, Agarkar announced the 17-person Asia Cup team in front of captain Rohit Sharma.
The newly-appointed top selector said that Rahul, who had been recovering from a hamstring injury, had hurt himself while practising. He said that it wasn't a big deal, but he did say that Sanju Samson was added to the team as a backup because of the injury.
"That's why Sanju Samson is travelling with us right now. But I'm sure the physios will get a report at some point, since they all have to be fit. If not at the start of the Asia Cup, Rahul will likely play in the second or third game (if he is healthy). He is on the right track. Shreyas Iyer has been given the all-clear. We have two important teams. The World Cup team doesn't have to be chosen until September 5. He had said, "That gives us more time."
Ravi Shastri, the former head coach, warned against picking Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, who hasn't played since March because of a back injury. On his YouTube account, Kris Srikkanth, a former India selector, slammed Agarkar for choosing them.
"KL Rahul has a niggle, so they say. If you have a beef with someone, don't put them in your team. During selection, you shouldn't choose a person who isn't fit. That was what we did. "If a player is not fit on the day of selection, don't pick him," he said.
'Agarkar made that statement because…'
During an interview on Star Sports about India's training camp for the Asia Cup, it was said that Rahul will take a fitness test and do some drills at the NCA on Friday under the watching eye of the trainer.
It was also said that Rahul's niggle isn't too big of a deal and that he'll be fine in the next five days before India leaves for the Asia Cup on 30 August.
Agarkar's statement meant that the batter needed time to recover from the practise matches he played at the NCA before he was picked for the tournament.
"KL Rahul is getting a lot of attention because he is coming back from an injury. Today, he is doing his exercises to get in shape. Before he was chosen, he did go through a couple of match simulators or practise games at the NCA. He kept wickets and played for a long time. He has been working out with the NCA trainer all day. Yes, it's a little thing, but he looks fine, so it's not a big deal.
We can't say he will take a long time because, as Ajit Agarkar pointed out, he will miss a few early games because he has already played a few practise games and needs time to recover. He will also have to go through some training routines.
So the selectors will think twice about putting him in the match zone right away, especially against Pakistan, which is why Agarkar said what he did. But in the next five days, Rahul will come through."
India will start the Asia Cup on September 2 against Pakistan. Two days later, on September 4, they will play Nepal in Kandy, Sri Lanka.