KL Rahul to miss first two matches including Pakistan’s: Dravid

Bengaluru, UNI) Ahead of their departure to Sri Lanka for 2023 Asia Cup, Team India received a big jolt after Coach Rahul Dravid announced KL Rahul’s absence in the first two group stage matches.

“He (KL Rahul) will be unavailable for the first part (of the Asia Cup), for the Kandy leg of the trip. The NCA will be looking after him for the next few days while we are travelling,” he told reporters here.

“The team will reassess KL Rahul’s availability on September 4, and take it from there, however, signs are looking good and he is progressing really well. He will be unavailable for the first two games,” he added.

Rahul has been a crucial batsman at No.5, and done exceedingly well even with his keeping gloves. In 18 matches in the middle-order spot, he has aggregated 742 runs at an average of 53 and a strike rate of close to 100.

In his absence along with Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant due to injuries, India have had to scramble to find ideal candidates heading into the World Cup.

The experimentation came under scrutiny many times but Dravid defended their decisions that came under dire circumstances.

“Just to give you an example, the No.4 and 5 spots seem to get discussed and talked about a lot, and it gives the impression that we don’t have clarity on who was going to be there, but to be very honest with you, I could have told you 18 or 19 months ago who were the two or three candidates who we were looking at for No.4 and 5 slots,” Dravid said.

On Shreyas Iyer, Dravid said, “It was always going to be between Shreyas, KL and Rishabh for those spots right from 18 months ago. Obviously, it’s unfortunate that all three of them in that position ended up with injuries in the space of two months. What are the odds of that happening? Nobody can calculate for that.

“And not small injuries, right? Serious injuries. All three of them have had to go under the knife and have had operations.

“It’s good to know that at least two of the three have got to a point where they’ve recovered and should be available for us.

India’s Asia Cup campaign kicks off on 2 September with a high-voltage clash against Pakistan in Kandy. Two days later, they will face off against Nepal in the final group-stage encounter.

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