Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar believes KL Rahul has been included in India’s 2023 World Cup squad as soon as he recovered from injury because he is a proven performer as well. Rahul, who had surgery for a thigh injury sustained during Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, hasn’t played any competitive cricket in the last few months as well. He missed India’s first two games of the ongoing Asia Cup due to a niggle but has been picked in the provisional squad for the mega event as well.
During an interaction with India Today, Gavaskar said: “He is a proven performer with the bat and I think you allow proven performers just a little bit of leeway. That’s exactly what has happened in this instance. Yes, it can be a bit worrying that he hasn’t played any cricket. However, he joins the team in Sri Lanka now. So he will get to play a few matches and there you will see his fitness. There are three ODI games against Australia in the third week of September. So that is again a series where you can see how his fitness is.”
Gavaskar further added that India have the option of replacing Rahul in the squad if he fails to prove his fitness. The selectors also need to name the final squad by September 28 as well, after which they would need approval from the ICC’s technical committee to make any changes as well. However, he also opined on whether Ishan Kishan should sit out and KL Rahul should play.
“It could be a fight between Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul for the No. 4 position while Ishan Kishan, with the kind of form he has shown, stays in the team. He could stay in the team as a batter and Rahul can keep wickets,” Sunil Gavaskar concluded. “However, if both Rahul and Ishan Kishan play, then it might actually be a good idea to have Ishan Kishan keep wickets because if Rahul has undergone some injuries with the leg, getting up and down might just be a little bit of an issue. It just makes good cricketing sense to have Ishan Kishan keep wickets.”