KL Rahul, who is suffering from a small niggle, went through an extended nets session during a camp at Alur to prove his fitness before the Asia Cup.
Team India is all set to play with a full-strength team in the upcoming Asia Cup, where they begin their campaign against the arch-rivals Pakistan on September 2 in Pallekele.
Ahead of the tournament, a training camp is being held in Alur, Bengaluru where all the Asia Cup-bound India players are undergoing fitness tests and nets sessions.
The first day saw a few of the top players clearing yo-yo tests with former captain Virat Kohli making his score of 17.2 public.
On the second day (Friday, 25 August), India’s top four batted in pairs according to their batting order, but the biggest headline was that Rahul underwent a session in isolation and was put through his paces by the team’s conditioning coaches.
KL Rahul in spotlight on day two
All eyes are on his fitness after chief selector Ajit Agarkar confirmed that the wicketkeeper has picked up a niggle after recovering from his thigh injury.
He is currently doubtful for the first two games in the Asia Cup and the team management is hoping for him to regain his full fitness by the Super 4s in the event.
By the time Rahul's fitness drills finished on day two of the camp, India’s designated top four for the Asia Cup – Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Kohli and Shreyas Iyer – were done with their training.
Rahul’s batting session began soon after, as he faced a seam bowling pair of Shardul Thakur and net bowler Akash Deep with no discomfort.
Captain Rohit and chief selector Agarkar kept a close eye on his session as India’s wicketkeeper-batter looked decisive with his footwork and shot selections.
There were no quick sprints between the wickets, though. KL Rahul also spent time in the middle facing the spinners – Axar Patel and Mayank Markande – and he came out with multiple shots including sweep and reverse sweep.
KL Rahul batted for close to an hour and before walking off, he was seen having a chat with head coach Rahul Dravid and batting coach Vikram Rathour.
Among other players, the focus was on Ishan Kishan, a backup wicketkeeper in case Rahul misses out. He underwent keeping drills with fielding coach T Dilip. However, his batting position in Rahul’s absence is a matter of debate.
Kishan has batted as an opener mostly in ODIs and is coming off three consecutive fifties in the West Indies. But he might have to bat at five if KL Rahul is unfit, with Rohit and Gill expected to open the innings.
Meanwhile, the Ireland tour-bound players – Jasprit Bumrah, Prasidh Krishna, Tilak Varma and Sanju Samson – who have also been picked for the Asia Cup are expected to join the camp in a day or two after they visit their hometowns.
While Bumrah and Krishna have made stunning returns from injury, bowling their quota of overs in two T20Is in Irelands, Tilak didn’t have memorable outings with scores of 0 and 1 in two innings.
India’s camp is set to go on till August 29 with the Indian team scheduled to fly out to Sri Lanka on August 30.