Watch: Ravi Shastri, two ex-India chief selectors involved in heated on-air debate over KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer
Are KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer good choices? And if they are, should they be given immediate access into India's Asia Cup squad without first competing? These are two of the most pressing concerns for every Indian cricket fan right now.
The answer is expected on Sunday, when the Ajit Agarkar-led senior men's selection committee unveils the 15-man Squad for the Asia Cup 2023, which begins on August 30. Before that, all one can do is speculate.
True, India would prefer to have both Iyer and Rahul in their squad as well as their XI. There are several causes for this.
Iyer, who has an average of 47 in two centuries, has been the greatest conceivable answer to India's No.4 difficulties in recent years. The ability of the right-hander to attack spinners makes him an ideal contender for the vital place in subcontinent conditions.
KL Rahul has done more than a decent job behind the stumps and has transitioned easily to the No.5 post.
Their presence not only strengthens India's batting order but also brings balance to the team.
But, in a tournament like the Asia Cup, wouldn't it be too hazardous to immediately draught them into the starting XI? Rahul and Iyer have both participated in at least two match simulations at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru to demonstrate their fitness.
According to the latest reports, Rahul appears to be in considerably better shape than the other.
It will all come down to whether the selectors, skipper Rohit Sharma, and head coach Rahul Dravid believe both Rahul and Iyer are essential. If not, India has players like Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan ready to replace them in the XI.
Former India head coach Ravi Shastri, former India chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil, and MSK Prasad had a heated dispute on-air during a Star Sports special show on Asia Cup selection.
Here's how the conversation went on among the three former India cricketers
MSK Prasad: What if KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer are fit
Ravi Shastri: They have to play some matches, give them some matches before the Asia Cup.
MSK Prasad: Okay, let's say they are found fit after playing matches.
Ravi Shastri: Where will they play? Asia Cup will start in a couple of weeks.
MSK Prasad: I have seen KL Rahul play at the NCA. He looks fit. He might end up in the squad.
Sandeep Patil: Playing in the nets and playing in a match is totally different.
MSK Prasad: They have already organised two matches for him Sandy bhai.
Sandeep Patil: But were the competitive matches? Playing friendly matches and scoring runs is easy.
Ravi Shastri: Injuries happen ad you have to be very careful. You try to rush just with Bumrah. Not once, not twice, three times, I mean and he's been sitting out for 14 months now.
In the end, neither Iyer nor Rahul were on the squad that they chose. Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, and a young Tilak Varma, who wowed everyone in his first series in the West Indies, were included to India's 15-man team.