Bastab K Parida
14 Sep 2023 | 07:16 AM

Shreyas Iyer primed for return; watchful eyes on Tilak Varma

Suryakumar, Jadeja, Shardul, and Tilak joined the nets, while others opted for a well-deserved rest ahead of the Bangladesh encounter

After missing the Asia Cup 2023 Super Four encounters against Pakistan and Sri Lanka due to a back spasm, Shreyas Iyer batted without discomfort during Team India’s optional training session at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Thursday. 

Iyer, who had just made a comeback after five months of break due to a back injury incurred during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy last March, took throwdowns from batting coach Vikram Rathour and local left-arm pacers to acclimatize himself.

Iyer had been slated to bat at No. 4 in the crucial encounter against Pakistan, but a sudden back spasm forced a last-minute change, with KL Rahul stepping in admirably, scoring an impressive 111* and 39 against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, respectively. 

Ishan Kishan retained his place in the lineup, but now with Iyer appearing fully fit and free from any back concerns, the Indian team management now face a dilemma of sorts. 

Leaving out Kishan, who has averaged an impressive 46.81 since the beginning of 2022, will be a tough decision. However, Iyer has been one of India's most consistent ODI batters, renowned for his ability to tackle spin, making his inclusion a tempting prospect.

Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, and Tilak Varma all joined the nets, while others opted for a well-deserved rest ahead of the upcoming match against Bangladesh, which has now become a dead rubber with India already qualifying for the finale and Bangladesh being bowed out of the competition. 

Notably, Indian bowling coach Paras Mhambrey dedicated considerable time to working with Tilak, even though the young Andhra Pradesh talent was not included in the World Cup squad. With the tournament being hosted in India, in case of a last-minute injury replacement, Varma is an ideal candidate with his rock-solid batting and ability to roll his arm over. 

Jadeja spent quite a bit of time trying to hone range-hitting skills, whereas Shardul ensured not a single net bowler was spared. As a matter of fact, Shardul wasn’t in the playing XI for the Sri Lanka game, making way for Axar Patel, but in all likelihood, will play an important role for Team India in upcoming matches. 

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