Asia Cup 2023: No KL Rahul for Asia Cup, Tilak Varma in middle order for India, says Ravi Shastri

Asia Cup 2023: No KL Rahul for Asia Cup, Tilak Varma in middle order for India, says Ravi Shastri: Former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri reckons Team India should not rush wicketkeeper batter KL Rahul to play in the upcoming Asia Cup 2023, who is still recovering from a thigh injury, that he suffered during the Tata Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023.

Shastri, who coached India from 2017 to 2021, believes everyone is expecting too much from a guy who has not yet wholly recovered from his injury.

Speaking on Star Sports on Tuesday, Ravi Shastri made a point that even if KL Rahul is fit, he shouldn’t be drafted into the team immediately.

 “See when you’re talking of a player (KL Rahul) who’s not played and is recovering from injury. To think of him in the XI of the Asia Cup, you’re asking a little too much of the player himself,” said Ravi Shastri.

“And then you’re talking keeping. When a guy comes from an injury, the range of movement and things of that sort, so that’s a no-no,” the World Cup-winning player explained.

When asked whether team India should look at Sanju Samson or Ishan Kishan to perform the wicketkeeping duties during the Asia Cup 2023, Shastri indicated that the latter would be more suitable as the team has made him the first-choice wicketkeeper in ODIs in the absence of KL Rahul.

“If you have persisted with Ishan Kishan for the last six-eight months and he is going to keep wickets, he comes in, in any case. Ishan Kishan has been keeping for the last 15 months. Why go somewhere else?” asked Shastri.

The cricketer-turned-analyst further warned the Indian selectors for rushing players following an injury break. He cited that India’s ace pacer Jasprit Bumrah had to go through this nightmare not once but thrice and he was suddenly out of sports action for straight 14 months.

“You can’t rush players back from injuries. You did that with Jasprit Bumrah, not once, twice but thrice and he has been out for 14 months now.”

Asia Cup 2023: Tilak Varma in middle order for India: Ravi Shastri

Asia Cup 2023: No KL Rahul for Asia Cup, Tilak Varma in middle order for India, says Ravi Shastri
Tilak Varma – AFP/Getty Image

Team India has always suffered due to a lack of enough lefties in the playing11. The balance of the team usually becomes more enhanced when a left-hander comes in and India has missed one since the injury to flamboyant Rishabh Pant.

Moreover, the snub of Shikhar Dhawan from the ODIs also meant that there was no southpaw for India in the top 5, which usually is a nightmare for the teams.

Ravi Shastri said he is quite impressed with left-handed Tilak Varma, who made his international debut recently in the series against West Indies. Varma was in hot form and scored runs even on difficult tracks, where every other batter failed.

“There are three other positions where I think two left-handers have to come in. Now, this is where the selectors’ role comes in because they are watching. They know who’s the guy who’s hot. If Tilak Varma is hot, bring him in. If you think (Yashasvi) Jaiswal is hot, bring him in.

“I am very impressed with Tilak and … I would look in that direction.”

India’s squad for the Asia Cup 2023 is expected to come out in the next couple of days. The long delay in the squad announcement for Asia Cup 2023 could be due to uncertainty over the inclusion of injured KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, who recently played a practice game at the NCA.

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For more details head to ICC’s official website.