Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has backed KL Rahul, who is yet to regain 100 percent fitness for the 2023 Asia Cup, scheduled to begin later this month.
The cricketer-turned-commentator said that Rahul should be given the opportunity to recover from his niggle ahead of the ODI World Cup. The statement came as the selection committee confirmed that Rahul has recovered from a thigh injury but has a slight niggle.
As a precautionary measure, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has named wicketkeeper-batter Sanju Samson as a reserve for Rahul’s backup in India’s squad for the Intercontinental tournament.
Gavaskar told India Today:
“Let’s see what his injury is like, but there are still 10 days to go before the tournament starts as far as India is concerned, actually 11 days to go before the tournament starts for India, that’s enough time to recover from a niggle.”
“It’ll be fair to give KL Rahul, after all that he’s done for India in the past to give him an opportunity to recover because we all know what a classy player he is. Let him play a few matches and thereby you’ll be able to see his fitness.”
“If he doesn’t stand up in the Asia Cup, then maybe you know you have to look at somebody else. Test him out in the matches that will happen, maybe post the India-Pakistan game on the 2nd of September. There will be some matches that India plays. Test him out in those games.”
For the uninitiated, Rahul recently missed out on the recently concluded three-match ODI series in West Indies as well as several games for Lucknow Super Giants in the Indian Premier League.
The right-handed batter has played a couple of match-winning knocks in the 50-over format earlier this year. The 31-year-old scored half-centuries against Sri Lanka (64* off 103 balls) and Australia (75* off 91) at home to take the Men in Blue past the finish line.
“All of these back injuries happen, it’s trying to lift weights” – Sunil Gavaskar blasts BCCI as KL Rahul fails to get fully fit for Asia Cup
Sunil Gavaskar feels that lifting weights in the gym is the primary reason behind players’ back injuries. The 74-year-old wants the players to be cricket fit instead of being gym fit. On this, he said:
“It’s not a question of how many miles you run on the treadmill but how much bowling you do in the nets. How many times you run in the nets, practice matches, that’s important. That’s an area India needs to look at.”
“A lot of these injuries have happened because of overload as far as work and gym work is concerned, not cricket work. All of these back injuries happen, it’s trying to lift weights. I am no expert. I could be wrong.”
“Lifting weights, I don’t know how it helps, but it’s a modern-day cricket. Along with it, you’re finding a lot of back injuries, which didn’t happen in the past because, in the past, not too many people lifted weights.”
“They just ran around, bowled for one or one and a half hours in the nets, batted for about 20-25 minutes, they did a lot of running around. We should look at cricket fitness, not gym fitness.”
For the uninitiated, Jasprit Bumrah missed out on competitive cricket for almost 11 months due to a back injury. Shreyas Iyer too missed a lot of action in the last six months due to a recurring back injury.