KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer return to India squad for Asia Cup 2023

Young batsman Tilak Varma selected for the 50-over tournament

KL Rahul returned to the Indian team for the Asia Cup. AP
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Batters KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer recovered from their long-term injuries in time to be selected to the Indian team for the upcoming Asia Cup 50-over tournament.

The selectors picked a 17-member squad which also included returning pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Prasidh Krishna, and young batsman Tilak Varma.

While Bumrah and Krishna proved their fitness following back surgeries during the ongoing T20 series in Ireland, there is uncertainty over the match readiness of Rahul (thigh injury) and Iyer (back), especially in the 50-over format.

The management seems to have taken a chance on the batsmen's fitness, given they have not played any competitive cricket for months.

Fast bowlers Mohammad Shami and Mohammad Siraj have been picked, while leg spinner Yuzvendra Chahal failed to make the cut. Wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav is the lone specialist, with all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel named as the other slow bowlers.

The Asia Cup squad is more or less the team that will be selected for the ODI World Cup at home. Given the paucity of matches leading up to the showpiece event, the selection committee headed by Ajit Agarkar has been forced to pick players who are not yet certain to last the distance in a 50-over tournament.

Bumrah and Krishna have only just returned to bowling in T20s. While Agarkar announced Iyer has been declared fully fit, Rahul is still carrying a niggle. Sanju Samson has been named as a travelling reserve, underlining the uncertainty surrounding the Indian team.

"We've picked these 18 guys, it [World Cup squad] will be in and around these guys," Agarkar was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. "Few important guys coming back form injury, hopefully all goes well with them. They have a few games now at the Asia Cup. There's a short camp followed by a couple of games before we announce the World Cup squad, but it's quite obvious it'll be around these guys."

The Asia Cup will be held in Sri Lanka and Pakistan from August 30 to September 17, with India's matches to be held in the island nation.

Asia Cup squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Mohammad Siraj, Prasidh Krishna

Updated: August 21, 2023, 9:44 AM