Rahul, Shreyas and Tilak make it to India’s Asia Cup squad

Jasprit Bumrah and Prasidh Krishna make ODI comebacks but Yuzvendra Chahal dropped from 17-man squad

ESPNcricinfo Staff

Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul have managed to get selected after months of rehab Getty Images

KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer have been named in India’s ODI squad for the Asia Cup after early recovery from a thigh and back injury respectively.

The 17-man squad for the Asia Cup announced by India’s Chairman of Selectors Ajit Agarkar in Delhi on Monday included rookie left-armer Tilak Varma, who is yet to make his ODI debut. Fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Prasidh Krishna, who made their international comebacks during the ongoing T20I series in Ireland after recovering from back surgeries, were also picked. Mohammed Shami made a comeback after being rested for the entire West Indies tour, while Mohammed Siraj and pacemen Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur complete the pace attack.

“In the West Indies we saw some real promise in terms of not only performances but also temperament,” Agarkar said of Tilak’s selection. “And it gives us an opportunity to get him with the team, to give him more exposure, a left-hander again, he looks promising. So luckily we can get 17 here, it’ll be 15 at the World Cup. So when the time comes, we will make that decision, but at the moment it at least gives the coach and the captain an opportunity to have him with the team.”

Experienced leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has been dropped from the squad, with Kuldeep Yadav preferred as the wrist, along with two finger-spinning allrounders Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel. There was no offspinner in the team.

“We also considered an offspinner, Ashwin and Washy [Washington Sundar], but right now you see that Chahal had to miss out because we could only pick 17 players,” India captain Rohit Sharma said at a press conference in Delhi. “The only way we could have picked him was if there was one missing by the athletes. We can’t do that because the sailors are going to play a big role in the next couple of months. A few of these are coming back after a long time, so we wanted to take a good look at them, pick them up and see what they have to offer. That being said, no door is closed to anyone. Anyone can enter at any time. If we feel we need Chahal for the World Cup, we will see how we can squeeze him in, same goes for Washy or Ashwin.”

Ishan Kishan was picked in place of Sanju Samson as the second wicketkeeper in the squad after Rahul, with the left-hander doubling up as a reserve. Samson, however, will travel to Sri Lanka as a reserve player.

“We chose these 18 children, [World Cup squad] They will be in and around these guys,” Agarkar said. “A few important guys coming back from injury, I hope everything goes well with them. They have a few games now in the Asian Cup. There’s a short camp followed by two games before we announce the World Cup squad, but obviously it’s going to be around these guys.”

Rahul and Shreyas had spent several weeks in rehab at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore and took part in match simulation exercises in the days leading up to their selection. Rahul has not played any competitive cricket since he was injured during IPL 2023, while Shreyas has been out of action since Australia’s tour of India in March. Agarkar said that while Shreyas was fully fit, there was concern about Rahul.

“Both of them are coming off long-term serious injuries. Shreyas has been declared absolutely fit. Rahul, not his original injury but there is a nibble, so Sanju is traveling [as a reserve player]”We will get a report from the doctor at some stage but we all expect him to be fit. If not at the start, by the second or third game, but he is well on his way. Shreyas has been fit which is good news for us”.

Apart from the inclusion of Tilak, there were no surprises in the batting unit and Rohit said the team management wanted to be flexible with the batting order.

“One thing I want in this team is to make sure everyone is OK to bat anywhere,” Rohit said. “You need versatility, guys who can step up to any position. Nobody should say, ‘I’m good at this position or I’m good at that.’ that it’s hard for guys out there to understand why a guy who’s batting at six is ​​hitting at four, but the message has been given. You don’t want to be handicapped or stuck with a player hitting in one position. That said, you want to get the best of players in certain positions. All seven-eight [positions] they’re open to anyone, that’s the message we’ve been sending for so many years now.”

The Asia Cup begins on August 30 with Pakistan hosting Nepal in Multan. India’s first Group A match is against Pakistan in Pallekele on September 2, after which they will play Nepal in Pallekele on September 4. Group B features Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka and the top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super Four stage. The teams that finish No. 1 and 2 in the Super Fours will contest the final in Colombo on September 17.

India’s Asia Cup squad: Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya (vc), Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Ishan Kishan, Shardul Thakurtel, Suryakumar Paxar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Prasidh Krishna

Substitute: Sanju Samson

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