Asia Cup: Amidst heavy rain in Colombo, India trains indoor as KL Rahul resumes practice

The Karnataka batter, who missed the first two games, has joined the team and underwent his first training session on the tour on Thursday
Indian cricketer KL Rahul.
Indian cricketer KL Rahul.

COLOMBO: Even as a few India players trained at the Gamini Dissanayake Indoor Cricket Nets, Nondescripts Cricket Club during the optional training session, it was pouring outside in Colombo on Thursday.

The weather forecast said there was a 100 per cent chance of rain during the day and it came true. Despite the heavy rain, India players managed to train but what's more worrisome is the fact that the forecast remains the same for next one week with chances of precipitation ranging from 67 per cent to 95 per cent.

As many as five Super Four stage matches have to be played in Colombo with India playing on September 10, 12 and 15 against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, respectively. The chances of precipitation on these days are 95, 84 and 60 per cent.

"Like India, Sri Lanka also witnesses southwest monsoon from May to September. So it's not new that Colombo is witnessing rain. As the month will conclude, the rain will subside," a Sri Lanka Cricket official told The New Indian Express.

"We were more than happy when the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) gave us an opportunity to co-host the tournament but I must say the timing is not good. One match has already been washed out due to rain and if more games meet the same fate, then it will affect the credibility of the SLC," added the official.

There is a one-day gap between the India-Pakistan match, Sri Lanka-India match and Sri Lanka-Pakistan match. Similarly, there is a two-day gap between the last Super Four match and final, which is scheduled on September 17.

While the ACC has kept a reserve day for the final, it has not officially announced reserve days for other matches. A BCCI source, however, claimed that the second clash between the arch-rivals on September 10 could also be played the next day, which is a rest day, if rain affects the game.

Given the forecast, the Indian team management must have decided to hold an indoor training session. With the facility having four practice wickets, India players including Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav and Shardul Thakur took turns to bat.

With Shaheen Afridi claiming two early wickets in their first match, the India batters faced throwdowns simulating left-arm pacers. Head coach Rahul Dravid, batting coach Vikram Rathour and other throwdown specialists switched nets to cater to the needs of the batters.

All eyes were on Rahul, who joined the team only after the group stage, as he batted in the nets alongside Iyer. The focus was countering the challenges especially posed by the left-arm pacers. The Karnataka batter looked good in the nets as he was moving his feet well and playing his favourite shots to perfection.

Rahul last played for India back on March 22 in Chennai, scoring 32 off 50 in a losing cause against Australia in an ODI. He then tore a tendon in his right leg during an IPL match in May and had to undergo surgery. The right-hand batter underwent an extensive rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) before being included in the Asia Cup squad. A few days after being included, he was ruled out of the first two matches due to a fresh niggle.

Notably, the Indian players last trained at nets in Sri Lanka on September 1 on the eve of their Asia Cup opener against Pakistan. They had preferred not to train ahead of their clash against Nepal on September 4. So the optional net session was also their first in almost a week.

With 75 per cent chances of precipitation on Friday, the Indian team may once again prefer to train indoors. Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are also reaching Colombo on Thursday evening. They too will start training from Friday, especially the last two as they will face each other on Saturday.

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