Two matches after returning from back surgery, Shreyas Iyer suffered a back spasm during the pre-match warm-up preceding the India-Pakistan Super Four clash at the Asia Cup, ruling him out of the game on Sunday.
KL Rahul, who was also recuperating from an injury and missed the first two games of the Asia Cup due to a niggle, was summoned into the XI as a last-minute replacement.
During the coin toss, Rohit Sharma informed that the last-minute in the lineup was forced by unforeseen circumstances. This decision was reflected on the official team sheet, where Iyer's name was initially listed at the No. 4 batting position, while Rahul was designated as the 13th man.
However, just before its public release, the team management revised the arrangement, with both players swapping positions. It is noteworthy that Rahul's customary batting slot in One Day Internationals (ODIs) has traditionally been at No. 5.
While Rahul made the team as batter, it is unclear whether he would be fit enough to take on the role of the wicketkeeper. India, though, have the insurance of Ishan Kishan, who was included in the playing eleven.
This is Rahul’s first professional game since being injured in this year’s IPL when he suffered a thigh injury.
He has been absent from the international cricketing arena since March and had undergone an extensive rehabilitation process following a tendon tear in his right thigh sustained during the IPL. He earned his place in the Asia Cup squad after rigorous rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy.
However, he suffered a niggle before the tournament, resulting in his exclusion from the initial two matches.
Shreyas Iyer injury timeline
Shreyas Iyer had not participated in any matches since the home One Day International series against Australia in early March. Furthermore, he missed the entire Indian Premier League (IPL) season due to his ongoing recovery from a back ailment that ultimately required surgery.
His inclusion in both the Asia Cup and the forthcoming ODI World Cup squads was dependent on his medical clearance, which he eventually received from the medical personnel at the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.
Shreyas Iyer featured in India's starting lineup for both of their group-stage matches at the Asia Cup, scoring 14 runs against Pakistan. In the match against Nepal, his batting was not required as India secured a resounding victory by ten wickets.
While the precise severity and implications of his most recent injury remain undisclosed, it raises concerns for the India team management, particularly with the ODI World Cup looming on the horizon.