Ishan Kishan is set to play the wicketkeeper-middle order batter’s role for the preliminary stage of the Asia Cup, in the wake of K.L. Rahul’s unavailability.
With Rahul having stayed back at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, it had paved way to a few theories over whether Sanju Samson, the travelling back-up member, should be inducted in the squad to replace Rahul.
However, Sportstar understands that since arriving in Kandy on Wednesday, India’s team management has discussed the issue in detail and decided to stick to Kishan in the like-for-like role in place of Rahul for the tournament-opener versus arch-rival Pakistan.
Over the last few months, Kishan, a destructive top-order bat, had been understood to have been reluctant to bat in the middle-order. But a message is understood to have been passed on to him to be ready to play the middle-order batter’s role besides keeping wickets.
The move is to ensure that India doesn’t tinker around with the top three - captain Rohit Sharma, emerging star Shubman Gill and veteran Virat Kohli. Besides, Kishan’s inclusion in the XI will also lend an additional left-handed option in India’s batting order.
The decision is in sync with Rohit’s statement last week of youngsters being told to be ready to bat in any position to cater to the requirements of the team. “You need flexibility, guys who can step up at any position. No one should say, ‘I am good at this position or I am good at that position’. You want guys to be able to bat anywhere, that’s the message conveyed to every individual. Not now, but over the last three-four years,” Rohit had said in New Delhi on August 21.
With Kishan being an integral part of India’s World Cup plans, the team management is understood to be in favour of sticking to the World Cup plans rather than including Samson in the squad.
Rahul to play a practice match on Friday
Meanwhile, while Team India will have its maiden training session under floodlights at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Friday, Rahul is set to feature in a practice match in Bengaluru on the same day in a bid to prove his fitness.
While the nature of Rahul’s injury after recovering from a quadriceps surgery is not made official, Sportstar understands that he suffered a groin strain in the lead-up to the Asia Cup. The NCA medical staff is likely to assess his fitness only after he features in two practice matches.
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