KL Rahul underlines return to fitness; bats and keeps wickets at NCA

PTI, Aug 18, 2023, 6:28 PM IST

Credit: BCCI / File

Bengaluru: India received a boost ahead of the Asia Cup and the ODI World Cup as KL Rahul on Friday underlined his readiness to return to international cricket while batting and wicketkeeping for an extended period during the match simulation at the NCA.

In this scenario, Rahul will, in all probability, travel to Sri Lanka for the Asia Cup and the India team for the tournament will be selected on August 21.

”(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.

While Rahul’s return to top-flight cricket seems imminent, Shreyas Iyer, who also has been recuperating at the NCA, might just have to wait a bit longer. Shreyas too has been undergoing a match simulation process at the NCA and the middle-order batsman has shown marked improvement in fitness. However, a final call on Shreyas could only be taken over the next couple of days.

The return of Rahul will spare the Indian team management a major headache as they can seal one spot in the middle-order. Rahul has a fine record at No 4 in ODIs, making 241 runs from 7 innings at an average of 40.17 with a hundred.

At the No 5 position, Rahul has amassed 742 runs, including a hundred and seven fifties, from 18 innings at an average of 53.

In the absence of Rahul, the Indian think tank has experimented with Suryakumar Yadav and Sanju Samson in the middle-order but none of them could produce consistent performances.

Rahul last played for India in an ODI against Australia on March 22 at Chennai.

He was ruled out of action following a thigh injury that he suffered during Lucknow Super Giants’ match against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL 2023. Later he underwent a surgery before entering the rehabilitation phase.

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