“Don’t pick KL Rahul in the playing XI…”: Ravi Shastri On Indian Team In Asia Cup 2023

With the Asia Cup 2023 just around the corner, cricket enthusiasts and experts closely follow the squad announcements and speculations surrounding the participating teams. As Pakistan and Nepal unveil their squads, all eyes are now on India’s selection for Group A. While Jasprit Bumrah’s inclusion is expected, the spotlight is on KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, who are nearing the end of their rehabilitation and are anticipated to make the final cut.

KL Rahul’s potential inclusion in the playing XI, especially after a prolonged absence due to injury, has sparked debates within the cricket community. The former India head coach, Ravi Shastri, has reservations about including Rahul in the starting lineup. Shastri’s concerns stem from the challenges of reintegrating a player who has not played a single game since his injury, particularly considering the physical demands and pressures of an international tournament like the Asia Cup.

Shastri also highlighted the additional complexities posed by Rahul’s role as a wicketkeeper. Since injuries can impact a player’s range of movements, the former coach believes it might be unwise to rush Rahul back into competitive action, particularly in a high-profile tournament.

Shastri stated, “See, when a player who has not played a single game and is recovering from injury, to think of him in the XI of the Asia Cup, you are asking too much from the player.”

Rahul’s injury occurred on May 1 during a game between his team LSG and RCB in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Following the injury, he underwent surgery and missed the IPL season. Despite his absence from competitive cricket, Rahul has been actively working on his rehabilitation, practising his keeping skills at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and honing his batting skills in the nets.

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Shastri further added, “Additionally, Rahul is a keeper. Coming from an injury and those range of movements, that is a no-no.”

The decision about Rahul’s participation ultimately rests on a delicate balance between his recovery progress, match fitness and the team’s strategic considerations. While his skill set as a batsman and wicketkeeper is undeniable, the cautious approach advocated by Shastri reflects a concern for the player’s long-term well-being and performance.

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