Following their victory in the Asia Cup 2023, India captain Rohit Sharma revealed on Sunday that batter Shreyas Iyer is nearing full fitness, rating him as “99 per cent” match-ready, signalling his probable availability for upcoming matches. However, the captain anticipates that Axar Patel will be absent for the first two ODIs against Australia later this month. Iyer was featured in just one game of the Asia Cup -against Pakistan- and then missed out after suffering back spasms. Even though Iyer was injured for a large portion of the Asia Cup, he has accomplished most of the goals the team management had set for him as he recovered and tried to demonstrate his match fitness for the World Cup, which is now less than three weeks away.
“Shreyas was not available for this game [final] because there were certain parameters that were kept for him to tick off. Today, he completed most of it. I would say 99% he should be okay as of now, but he looks good. He batted, he fielded for long hours before we came in today So, he’s looking good at this point in time. I don’t think it’s a worry for us,” Rohit said in a post-match press conference.
Axar was forced to withdraw from the final game after injuring his left quadriceps during India’s final Super Four match against Bangladesh on Friday. Washington Sundar, who had been brought in from Bengaluru just the day before, took his spot in the starting lineup.
“Axar – I’m not sure, he had a small tear. It looks like maybe [unavailable] a week or ten days. We just have to wait and see how the injury progresses. Because every individual is different; some guys recover quickly. I hope that’s the case with Axar, so we’ll wait and see what happens with him. Obviously, am not too sure if he’ll be available to play the first two games at home against Australia. We’ll wait and see,” Rohit said.
Given that India’s World Cup squad lacks an off-spinner, Rohit was asked explicitly about Washington Sundar’s role and where he stands in the overall scheme of things. The India captain responded that he had been in contact with anyone who the team management believed may have a role to play, even if they didn’t make the final cut.
“With the spinning allrounder, everyone’s in line, [R] Ashwin as well. I’ve been talking to him on the phone. He’s very much in line, so is Washy [Washington]. We want those guys who can do the job with ball and bat as well. Washy, honestly that injury happened to Axar very late in the night, and then we had to call a few guys to see where they were at,” Rohit said.
“Washy was available, so we got him in to play the role and perform the job for us. Luckily, he was with the Asian Games squad in Bangalore. He was training, he was bowling, so he was cricket fit, so we had to get him,” the India captain said.
“But yeah, I’ve been very clear with certain guys who can come up and play certain roles. I’ve been talking to everyone; I don’t want to take names. Everyone is aware of what is happening, no one is in the dark as to what is happening. Everyone is kept in the loop,” he added.
With boosted confidence India will now look to prepare for the ODI World Cup as they take on Australia in a three-match ODI series with the first match being played at the PCA Stadium in Mohali.
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