INDIA INJURY UPDATES
Shreyas is likely to be fully fit soon according to Rohit © Getty
Shreyas Iyer is 99 percent okay and his recent injury setback is not a worry for the World Cup, according to India captain Rohit Sharma. Iyer returned for the 2023 Asia Cup after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a back injury that needed a surgical fix. But after batting in a solitary innings, he suffered a bout of back spasm five minutes before toss in the ‘Super Four’ encounter against Pakistan and didn’t feature in the remainder of India’s triumphant campaign.
Rohit revealed that the middle-order bat was mostly alright and cleared most of the fitness criteria set by the team before he can return to the playing XI. “I know what’s happening with Shreyas. He was not available for this game [the final]. There were certain parameters that were kept for him to tick off. I think today he completed most of it. I would say 99% he should be ok as of now. But he looks good. He batted, he fielded for long hours before we came today, he was on the ground. So he’s looking good at this point in time. So I don’t think it’s a worry for us,” the Indian captain said after India’s 10-wicket win in the final against Sri Lanka.
India face Australia in a three-match ODI series — their last assignment before the World Cup — starting on September 22 in Mohali. While Iyer is likely to feature in that series, the prognosis on another injured squad member – Axar Patel – is not as positive. Rohit expects the left-arm spinner to potentially miss the first two games of the Australia series with a quadriceps tear suffered in the defeat to Bangladesh.
“Axar… I’m not sure. You know he had a small tear. Looks like maybe a week or 10 days, I don’t know,” Rohit said. “We just have to wait and see how that injury progresses. Because every individual is different, some guys recover quickly. I’m hoping with Axar that’s the case. We’ll wait and see what happens with him. I’m not too sure whether he’ll be okay to play against Australia in the first two games at home. But we’ll wait and see.”
In the absence of Axar, India drafted in Washington Sundar for the final on short notice. And Rohit said that Washington and his Tamil Nadu teammate Ravichandran Ashwin remained in contention for the spinning all-rounder’s role if a replacement for Axar is required. The Indian captain admitted during the pre-Asia Cup press conference that he would have liked to have an off-spinner in the squad for tactical reasons and admitted now that he has been in conversation with Ashwin.
“See, with the spinner all-rounder… I think everyone is in the line,” Rohit said. “Honestly speaking, Ashwin as well. I’ve been talking to him on the phone. He’s very much in the line. Washy as well. We want those guys who can do the job with the ball and with the bat as well.
“Honestly, that injury to Axar happened very late in the night and then we had to call a few guys to see where they’re at. Washy was available so we had to get him to come in and play the role and perform the job for us. Luckily he was with the squad for the Asian Games in Bangalore. He was training, he was bowling. He was cricket-fit, he was spending a lot of time on the field. So we had to get him.
“But yeah, I’ve been very clear with certain guys who can come and play certain roles and I’ve been talking to everyone, I don’t want to take names. Everyone is aware of what’s happening. Nobody is kept in the dark about what we’re doing as a team. Everybody is kept in the loop.”