KL Rahul to miss India’s opening two Asia Cup games due to niggle, concerns over his WC availability

BENGALURU, Aug 29: Wicketkeeper-batter KL Rahul, was on Tuesday ruled out of the first two matches of the upcoming Asia Cup due to a “niggle” not only delaying his much-anticipated return to the Indian team but also raising doubts about his availability for the ODI World Cup, starting October 5.

India take on Pakistan in their tournament opener on September 2 followed by Nepal on September 4, the two games that Rahul will be missing as he will join the team during the Super Four phase of the tournament.

The niggle is unrelated to the thigh injury that kept him out of action for months and also required a surgery. He was named in the squad for the tournament, starting Wednesday and is India’s first-choice wicketkeeper.

“KL has had a good week with us. He is playing well. He is progressing really well but he will be unavailable for the first part for the Kandy leg of the trip. He will be unavailable for the first two games, ” India head coach Rahul Dravid said at the pre-departure presser.

The coach added that Rahul will be staying back at the NCA (National Cricket Academy) and a call on his participation in the tournament will be take on September 4.

“The NCA will be looking after him for the next few days while we are travelling. We will reassess on the 4th (September) and take it from there. But signs are looking good,” Dravid added.

It must be noted that by September 5, BCCI will have to submit the list of 15 players for the World Cup and have a chance to alter names till September 27.

In Rahul’s absence, Ishan Kishan is likely to don the wicketkeeper’s gloves as the other option — Sanju Samson is only a travelling reserve and technically not a part of 17-member squad.

However, where Kishan is slotted in the batting order would be interesting to see.         “It’s just two less games from our perspective. KL is batting well. Slightly more cautious approach leading into the World Cup. He will have a few match simulations over the course of the next few days in the middle.

“We are hoping it will be only two games that he misses and he will be back for the later stages. We also have an Australia series,” Dravid added. (PTI)