Shastri, 2 ex-India chief selectors in heated on-air debate over Iyer and Rahul | Crickit
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Ravi Shastri, two ex-India chief selectors involved in heated on-air debate over KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer

Aug 18, 2023 06:13 AM IST

Former India head coach Ravi Shastri, former chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil and MSK Prasad had quite a debate over Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul's fitness.

Are KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer fit? And if they are, should they get direct entry into India's Asia Cup squad without playing any competitive matches? These are two of the biggest questions currently in every Indian cricket fan's mind. The answer is likely to come on Sunday when the Ajit Agarkar-led senior men's selection committee announces the 15-member squad for Asia Cup 2023, starting August 30. Before that, one can only play the guessing game.

Sandeep Patil, Ravi Shastri and MSK Prasad
Sandeep Patil, Ravi Shastri and MSK Prasad

It is true that India would ideally want both Iyer and Rahul not only in their squad but also in their XI. There are reasons for that. With an average of 47 in two centuries to his name, Iyer has been the best possible answer to India's No.4 woes in the last few years. The right-hander's ability to attack the spinners makes him an ideal choice for the crucial spot in sub-continent conditions. As far as KL Rahul is concerned, he has done more than a decent job behind the stumps and has adapted to the No.5 spot seamlessly.

ALSO READ: 'Tried to rush Bumrah not once, not twice but three times': Ravi Shastri's no-nonsense take on injured duo in Asia Cup

Their availability not only strengthens India's batting-order but also adds balance to the side.

But won't it be too risky to straightaway draft them into the XI in a tournament like Asia Cup? Both Rahul and Iyer have gone through at least two match simulations at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru to prove their fitness. Between the two, Rahul appears to be in much better shape as far as the latest reports are concerned.

It will boil down to whether the selectors, captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid believe both Rahul and Iyer are indispensable. If not, India have players like Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan waiting to take their places in the XI.

While discussing the same during a Star Sports special show on the selection of Asia Cup, former India head coach Ravi Shastri, former India chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil and MSK Prasad had quite a debate on-air.

Here's how the conversation went on among the three former India cricketers

MSK Prasad: What if KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer are fit

Ravi Shastri: They have to play some matches, give them some matches before the Asia Cup.

MSK Prasad: Okay, let's say they are found fit after playing matches.

Ravi Shastri: Where will they play? Asia Cup will start in a couple of weeks.

MSK Prasad: I have seen KL Rahul play at the NCA. He looks fit. He might end up in the squad.

Sandeep Patil: Playing in the nets and playing in a match is totally different.

MSK Prasad: They have already organised two matches for him Sandy bhai.

Sandeep Patil: But were the competitive matches? Playing friendly matches and scoring runs is easy.

Ravi Shastri: Injuries happen ad you have to be very careful. You try to rush just with Bumrah. Not once, not twice, three times, I mean and he's been sitting out for 14 months now.

In the end, the squad that they zeroed in had neither Iyer nor Rahul. They chose to go with Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and a young Tilak Varma, who has impressed one and all in his debut series in the West Indies, in India's 15-member squad.

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