KL Rahul suffers fresh injury setback despite Asia Cup inclusion as Ajit Agarkar clarifies Sanju Samson inclusion
The inclusion of Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul, who have been out of play for about 3-4 months due to injury, was the focus of Team India's Asia Cup selection announcement.
While chief selector Ajit Agarkar confirmed Rahul and Iyer's selection in the 17-man team for the continental event, he also revealed that the wicketkeeper-batter has suffered a new ailment that puts him in doubt for the Asia Cup.
Rahul and Iyer have been healing from their injuries at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru for several weeks. Rahul sustained a hamstring injury during IPL 2023 and had surgery, while Iyer has been out since Australia's tour of India, where he suffered a lower back injury.
Prior to the selection meeting, the two went through multiple match simulations and practise matches under the watchful eyes of NCA chief VVS Laxman and India batting coach, where they not only demonstrated their batting fitness but also fielded for the entire 50-over length.
Despite receiving a green signal from the NCA, which led to the selectors announcing their names as part of the Asia Cup squad, Agarkar revealed during a press conference on Monday in New Delhi that Rahul has suffered a new injury setback in the last few days, which could cause him to miss the Asia Cup group stage.
He also stated that due to Rahul's injury, Sanju Samson has been named as the squad's reserve player. He did, however, state that he has no concerns about Iyer's fitness.
"Shreyas has been cleared to return to work. Rahul has been suffering from a niggle in recent days, which is why Sanju will be travelling with the team. But the physio…I'm sure there will be an official statement, but we expect him to be fully fit by the second or third game of the Asia Cup, if not the first. But he's on the right track," said the BCCI's head selector.
India will kick off their Asia Cup campaign against archrivals Pakistan on September 2 in Pallekele before facing qualifier Nepal two days later.