Rahul and Iyer are expected to take part in this training all through this week, which will give the national selectors clarity on how they are shaping up in a match environment before they sit down to pick India’s Asia Cup squad, which is expected to be out by August 20.
India’s Asia Cup contingent and reserves will undergo a week-long conditioning camp in Bengaluru from August 23-29 prior to leaving for Sri Lanka for the tournament, where India will open their campaign on September 2 against Pakistan.
Asia Cup squad = World Cup squad?
The selectors are keen on the Asia Cup being an unofficial hard stop as far as team selection for the World Cup goes, but it’s likely there could be an exception or two made, given India also play Australia in three ODIs prior to the World Cup campaign. As things stand, the BCCI must announce a preliminary World Cup squad by September 5, but can make changes to the squad as late as September 27, the day of the third and final ODI against Australia.
If fully fit, Rahul is India’s first-choice wicketkeeper in ODIs and will likely slot into the middle order along with Iyer, who has a formidable record at No. 4. In Iyer’s absence, the selectors have experimented with a number of options, including Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson and Axar Patel during the recently concluded ODI series in the Caribbean.
Iyer hasn’t played any competitive cricket since the fourth Border-Gavaskar Test against Australia this March. He underwent a back surgery in London subsequently, which forced him to miss the entire IPL season. He was in line to return for the Ireland T20Is, but this had been pushed back after the NCA staff felt he needed a longer rehabilitation window.
Rahul, meanwhile, pulled up towards the end stages of IPL 2023, when he tore a tendon in his right thigh while fielding. Like Iyer, Rahul too underwent surgery in the UK and has been in rehab at the NCA for the past two months.
Prasidh Krishna, Jasprit Bumrah all set for Ireland gig
Both players have now linked up with the squad leaving for Ireland.