Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has raised concerns over the non-inclusion of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer in India’s squad for the upcoming T20I series against Ireland. While Jasprit Bumrah’s return is a positive development, Chopra questions whether Rahul and Iyer’s absence implies lingering fitness issues.
The Men in Blue will face Ireland in a three-match T20I series, starting in Dublin on August 18. Chopra highlights the importance of Rahul and Iyer’s fitness for the upcoming Asia Cup and T20 World Cup, where they will likely be key players for India.
Jasprit Bumrah’s inclusion in the squad as both a player and captain is a significant development, as he has been away from competitive cricket since September 2022 due to a back issue that required surgery. Chopra emphasizes the importance of Bumrah proving his fitness by playing in the upcoming T20I series.
Aakash Chopra said, “Jasprit Bumrah is back. Jasprit Bumrah is not only available for the three T20Is against Ireland but is also the captain of the Indian team. But both KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer’s names are absent from the Ireland series. Is there still a question mark on their fitness?”
Chopra stated, “The big news is absolutely Jasprit Bumrah. He is 24-carat pure gold. He is a national asset. We have to preserve him. However, it has happened at least twice where his name has come and then he pulled back. It is important to see that now that his name has come, he is fit, ready and available, and he plays. He needs to play.”
Chopra questions the absence of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer from the squad, raising doubts about their fitness status. He wonders whether their non-selection for the Ireland series indicates lingering fitness concerns. Both Rahul and Iyer have been crucial in India’s middle order in limited-overs cricket, and their fitness is vital for India’s campaigns in the Asia Cup and T20 World Cup.
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Chopra expressed, “You might say Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul’s names are not there because it is a different format. But it is a different format for Jasprit Bumrah as well. Will KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer not be ready for the Asia Cup?”
Chopra expresses concerns about the potential absence of Rahul and Iyer from the Asia Cup and T20 World Cup. Their fitness is critical for India’s success in these tournaments, where Rahul will likely be the first-choice No. 5 and Iyer the first-choice No. 4 batsman. Chopra worries that their absence could disrupt the team’s balance and create challenges for the hosts.
Chopra acknowledges that limited information about the players’ fitness and availability adds to the uncertainty. The ongoing experimentation by the Indian team in the ongoing ODI series against West Indies has raised further doubts over Rahul and Iyer’s availability for the upcoming events.
Aakash Chopra further added, “If that is going to be the case, all hell will break loose because we are assuming that they will come. If they will not come and are out of the World Cup race, it will become very difficult. It will become difficult to create the balance. So I am now slightly worried because we don’t get much information.”