Rahul Dravid, the head coach of India, announced on Tuesday (August 29) that Rahul would be unavailable for the first two games of the 2023 Asia Cup. Dravid reports that Rahul, who has been recovering after a protracted injury layoff, is making good progress but won’t be traveling with the squad to Sri Lanka for the group games.
Rahul did recover in time to be selected in India’s squad for the Asia Cup despite missing the entire IPL this year due to injury. Ajit Agarkar, the tournament’s chief selector, had already suggested that the 31-year-old might skip at least the first game of the competition. Rahul recently participated in India’s skills camp at Alur and batted without any apparent difficulty; nonetheless, a cautious approach has been taken.
On Saturday, September 2, in Pallekele, India will play Pakistan in their opening match before facing Nepal on Monday in the other group match. If India qualifies, Dravid stated that a decision on Rahul’s participation in the Super Fours would be made on September 4. Ishan Kishan, the backup wicketkeeper-batter, is already in the lineup, while Sanju Samson is also there as a reserve traveler.
“He has had a really good week with us, really trained well, and he is progressing well on the route we want to take, but he will be unavailable for the Kandy leg of the trip,” Dravid added. “While we are on the road for the next three days, the NCA will take care of him. On the fourth, we will reevaluate, and we will go from there. But he is making excellent progress, and the signals are favorable.
Dravid also rejected claims that Rahul could not be ready for the major event in India in October. He said, “The way we are looking at it, he is actually just going to miss two fewer games.” He and Shreyas are in the same boat, I said. He is actually doing everything well—batting, keeping, everything—it’s just that he is being a little bit more circumspect as the World Cup approaches.
He will undergo a few match simulations over the coming days, giving him more time in the middle of the pitch. We are expecting that he will just miss two games and will be able to play in the remaining games of the tour, which includes an Australia series. I don’t worry too much about it. He and Shreyas are both seasoned athletes.