Asia Cup 2023

Revealed: Why KL Rahul won’t play in IND vs PAK, Asia Cup 2023, Group A Match

Saurabh AnandSaurabh Anand

September 1 2023
Watch: Good News! KL Rahul starts batting in nets at NCA
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Ishan Kishan will be preferred in India’s playing XI after KL Rahul is ruled out of the first two games.

Fans were elated after the Indian selection panel announced that Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul would be back for Asia Cup 2023 tournament. Everyone thought team India’s long-standing injury problems were over, and now a full-strength squad will take the field against Pakistan at Pallekele Cricket Stadium on Saturday. But there is one twist in the tale, as India’s wicket-keeper batter KL Rahul has been ruled out of India’s group A league games against Pakistan and Nepal. Rahul is still in contention for the super 4 round, but Indian coach Rahul Dravid informed in his press conference before leaving for Colombo that Rahul will be out of the first two league games.

Why KL Rahul is ruled out of League games?

KL Rahul was at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore after getting treatment for his calf injury. Rahul pulled up his calf muscle in an IPL 2023 game against Royal Challengers Bangalore and had to leave the Lucknow camp in mid-season. Rahul, while spending time at NCA, again got a niggle and has not yet recovered from it. BCCI chief selector Ajit Agarkar informed the press when he was announcing the squad that KL Rahul has a niggle but will travel with the team as he is expected to get fit before their opening clash in the Asia Cup 2023 tournament. KL Rahul is yet to recover, and management will once again have a look at his update after the Pakistan game is over.

Earlier, India’s head coach Rahul Dravid announced in a press conference, “KL Rahul is progressing really well but will not be available for India’s first two matches against Pakistan and Nepal.”Dravid further told the media that the “NCA will be assessing his improvement and added, The NCA will be looking after him for the next few days while we are travelling. We will reassess on September 4 and take it from there. But the signs are looking good. He will be unavailable for the first two games.” KL Rahul was set to take on the responsibility of being the No. 5 middle-order batter as well as wicket-keeper in the tournament.

In case KL Rahul gets ruled out for the entire tournament, his selection will get heavy criticism from the fans. His place in the World Cup squad is still in doubt. National selection panel chief Ajit Agarkar will announce the World Cup squad on September 5. India’s final league game in Asia Cup will be played on September 4 at Pallekele Stadium in Kandy. In place of Rahul, wicket-keeper Ishan Kishan will be preferred in the playing eleven, as Rahul’s absence will cause a void in India’s wicket-keeping options. Kishan might play as an opener, and Shubman Gill might bat at No. 4 in the middle-order against Pakistan.

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