Asia Cup: Ajit Agarkar made it clear that at the moment, only Ishan Kishan is being seen as the back up opener to Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill
KL Rahul, Ajit Agarkar, Shreyas Iyer (Pic: AFP)
Asia Cup: India chief selector Ajit Agarkar on Monday stressed importance for both Shreyas Iyer and K L Rahul to get enough game time ahead of the ODI World Cup in India.
Both Rahul and Iyer were named in the 17-man Asia Cup squad but the former has developed a niggle unrelated to his original injury, making him a doubtful starter for the opening game against Pakistan on September 2.
Speaking to media, Agarkar did not rule out the possibility of Rahul missing the opening game.
Ahead of the selection meeting, there were questions over both Rahul and Iyer's inclusion in the India squad as they have not played competitive cricket for months. Rahul and Iyer are coming back after undergoing thigh and back surgeries.
"Rahul plays in the team as a wicketkeeper-batter. Hopefully he will be available from the first game itself. Both Rahul and Iyer had long term injuries and they have done really well to get fit. It is a small setback for KL but we are hopeful that will be okay. He is a very important player needless to say," Agarkar said.
"From what we have been told it should not be too bad (in Rahul's case). We still have one month and a half before World Cup, hopefully they (Iyer and Rahul) will get enough cricket before that."
Agarkar also made it clear that at the moment, only Ishan Kishan is being seen as the back up opener to Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, ruling out a potential comeback for Shikhar Dhawan in the near future.
"Rohit is not a bad player, Shubman has had a phenomenal year. Ishan Kishan (is another one). Shikhar has been a terrific player for India. At the moment three guys are doing well and you can fit only 15. Unfortunately someone has to fit. At the moment these are our preferred openers," he said.
On not picking leggie Yuzvendra Chahal in the squad, Agarkar said: "He is another terrific performer for India. Sometimes it is the balance of the team or the team combination.
"Axar (Patel) has done really well and he can bat as well. Kuldeep (Yadav) has had a fantastic run so to fit two wrist spinners might be difficult. Kuldeep is little bit ahead of him. So he has to miss out unfortunately."
Dew could play a part in the World Cup that follows Asia Cup. India have picked four specialist pacers for the preceding continental event.
"Dew will play a part (in World Cup in India). We have seen it many times. But it is more about the balance of the team. Good bowler will find a way to bowl in different conditions," Agarkar said.
"Sometimes it is a little bit easier for pacers than spinners to grip the ball. I don't think it was necessarily just the dew. You are trying the get the best balance you can get. When it comes to dew good bowlers find a way."
(With agency inputs)