Shreyas Iyer's World Cup Spot Under Threat Amid Fitness Woes, With Suryakumar Yadav-Tilak Varma Waiting: Report
Shreyas Iyer's back problem remains a huge concern for India as the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 near. Iyer's back problems have reappeared with less than a month until the commencement of the showpiece tournament on Indian soil.
The middle-order hitter was left out of India's starting XI against Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2023 Super 4 match, and he has not played in the subsequent games against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The Men in Blue are due to meet Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2023 final on September 17, but whether Iyer can show his health before then remains to be seen. The 28-year-old has been included to India's ODI World Cup team, but his place could be jeopardised if he does not recover fully in time for the forthcoming ODI series against Australia, which begins on September 22.
According to the Indian Express, Iyer attended an optional training session prior to India's final Asia Cup Super 4 match against Bangladesh, and despite batting well in the nets, Iyer was benched for the dead-rubber match.
Iyer endured back spasms shortly before the match against Pakistan and had only recently returned to full fitness after back surgery, which forced him to miss the IPL 2023 season as well.
The Mumbai-born hitter finished training on Thursday under the careful eye of trainer S Rajnikanth, who has been added to India's team to help with the transition of Iyer, KL Rahul, and Jasprit Bumrah, who are all making comebacks after long-term ailments.
Iyer tackled throw-downs for 20 minutes after finishing his warmup before heading into the nets to face net bowlers for half an hour in the sweltering heat of Colombo, all without any difficulty.
While this is a positive indicator, Iyer has not played for India since his appearance against Nepal. In an official medical update issued on Friday, BCCI stated that Iyer is healing well but is not yet entirely fit.
"Shreyas Iyer has shown improvement, but he is not yet fully fit," the Indian board stated.
The three-match ODI series against Australia, as well as the Asia Cup final and two ODI World Cup warmup games, means India will play six matches before facing Australia in their first World Cup game on October 8.
Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Varma could be given a run-in if Iyer fails to prove his fitness in these six games. SKY is known for his explosive hitting, and while he has failed in the 50-over format, he does provide an X-factor for India.
Tilak, meanwhile, made his ODI debut against Bangladesh and provides the Indian squad with a useful spin option from their top-order hitters, which no other side has.
As a result, Iyer's workload will be reduced in order for him to demonstrate his fitness and reclaim his spot in the Indian team.