Team India’s star batter KL Rahul has been absent from the cricketing stage since May of this year, nursing a hamstring injury sustained during the Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign. Renowned for his dual role as a frontline keeper-batsman, Rahul’s influence on the team’s dynamics is palpable. His temporary absence created an opportunity for Ishan Kishan to showcase his mettle in the ODI series against the West Indies, where he exhibited remarkable prowess, securing impressive half-centuries across all three encounters while opening the innings.
However, this commendable stand-in performance came with its own dilemmas. Ishan’s role as an opener contrasted with Rahul’s established batting position at No. 5 in the order, a pivotal spot that anchors the middle-order. Rahul’s distinctive ability to orchestrate the innings has made him a vital cog in Team India’s composition.
Recent days witnessed some videos capturing Rahul returning to batting at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. These glimpses into his net sessions at NCA have fueled speculation about an imminent return to the cricketing fold, reigniting hopes that Rahul’s might soon return to Team India. And indeed, it seems the wicketkeeper-batter is on his way to a swift comeback, as news agency PTI reports that Rahul has been taking part in match simulation programmes, and also started doing wicketkeeping duties.
“(KL) Rahul showed impressive fitness levels over the match simulation programme (at the NCA) while batting and doing the wicketkeeping duties for an extended period (today).
“He has started batting from earlier this week and has now added wicketkeeping as well,” a source close to the development told PTI.
Suspense over Iyer continues
Should Rahul make his return for the upcoming Asia Cup, scheduled to kick off on August 30, his comeback would undeniably come at a crucial juncture. India’s recent woes in the middle-order, notably evident during the West Indies ODI series, have marked a pressing need for reinforcements. While the side lost five wickets in a paltry 115-run chase in the first ODI, India were bowled out for merely 182 while batting first in the second.
Parallel to Rahul’s potential return, Shreyas Iyer is also undergoing recovery at the NCA. Although the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) reported positive strides in Iyer’s recovery last month, the definitive green light for his participation in the continental tournament remains a subject of ongoing assessment. India’s campaign in the Asia Cup kickstarts on September 2 when the side takes on arch-rivals Pakistan in Kandy.
Source : Hindustan Times