Asia Cup: Changes in India's playing XI on the cards as Shreyas Iyer returns to nets
When a few members of the team reached the R Premadasa Stadium here in Colombo on Thursday for an optional training session, all eyes were on the Mumbai batter and how he fares at the nets.
COLOMBO: Back spasms during the morning warm-up session meant Shreyas Iyer had to sit out of India's Super Four match against Pakistan on Sunday. In his absence, wicketkeeper-batter KL Rahul made it to the playing XI and hit a century on his return to international cricket.
Ahead of India's clash against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, the BCCI said Iyer is feeling better but is yet to fully recover from back spasms. "He has been advised rest by the BCCI medical team and has not travelled with the team to the stadium for India's Super Four match against Sri Lanka," the BCCI posted on a social media platform.
The Mumbai batter has apparently not trained with the team in the nets since Sunday. So when a few members of the team reached the R Premadasa Stadium here in Colombo on Thursday for an optional training session, all eyes were on the Mumbai batter and how he fares at the nets. What made the fresh injury scary is the fact that Iyer had been out of the national fold since March due to a back issue. He eventually underwent a surgery in April and had to miss the entire IPL season due to it. The Asia Cup was his comeback tournament but he could bat only in a match against Pakistan (versus Nepal he did not bat) before missing out on the action.
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Apart from him, Shardul Thakur, Tilak Varma, Ravindra Jadeja and Suryakumar Yadav also trained but it was Iyer who grabbed the eyeballs throughout the session that went for little over 90 minutes. The middle-order batter did jogging for some time before sprinting. He then had throwdowns and also faced a few net bowlers. During his stint at the nets, he looked comfortable as he leaned forward and moved backward apart from transferring his weight on the back foot.
While head coach Rahul Dravid, bowling coach Paras Mhambrey and fielding coach T Dilip and other support staff were attending the session, it was batting coach Vikram Rathour who was keeping a close watch on Iyer. At moments, he even applauded the batter while feeding balls to him.
Besides Iyer, it was Tilak who batted and bowled at the nets. After batting for around half-an-hour, he also bowled off-spin to Jadeja, While bowling, he was in constant touch with the bowling coach probably discussing the length and areas where he can bowl. Later, Mhambrey also spoke on the possibility of giving a chance to those who haven't featured in the playing XI so far. "Till now, we haven't talked about it but yes there is an opportunity to give a chance to those who haven't played yet as we had already qualified for the final," he said.
Speaking of Tilak as a bowler, he said, "I have been working with Tilak since his under-19 days. We were in South Africa and we realised he has that bowling skill. We are working on it consistently so we can use it. We now are working with him in nets, if the captain gets confidence that he can bowl one over in the match and deliver. This one over can turn into two overs. So the objective is that if he bowls one over in a match then we get an option. It depends on circumstances where we need that extra bowler. There can be a situation when we need a spinner especially when the lefties are batting then an off-spinner can be used. If we talk about him playing then yes opportunity is there for him to play. Definitely the player is ready. All of them whether it's Tilak or Surya, all are ready."
With indications coming from a support staff member, there looks a possibility of a few changes being made in the Indian playing XI against Bangladesh in their last Super Four contest on Friday. Will it be a return for Iyer after a brief hiatus or ODI debut for Tilak, only time will tell.