'Don't think it's a worry' – Rohit expects Iyer to be fit for World Cup
Axar’s situation is slightly more tricky; could miss first two Australia ODIs next week
17-Sep-2023 • 16 hrs ago
Is this India’s ideal ODI playing XI?
Shreyas Iyer wasn’t fit for much of the Asia Cup, but he has ticked off most of the boxes the team management had set for him as he came back from injury and attempted to prove 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,” Rohit Sharma said after India won their eighth Asia Cup crown on Sunday after making short work of Sri Lanka. “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.”
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Iyer featured in just two games at the Asia Cup – in the group stage against Pakistan and Nepal – and then missed out after suffering back spasms. The timing of the fresh injury has raised doubts over his availability for the World Cup, but it appears that Iyer will remain with the squad for the three-ODI series against Australia starting on September 22 in Mohali.
The update on Axar Patel wasn’t as encouraging. Axar was ruled out of the final after picking up a left quadricep strain during India’s last Super Four fixture against Bangladesh on Friday, and replaced in the XI by Washington Sundar, who was flown in from Bengaluru just 24 hours earlier.
“Axar – I’m not sure, he had a small tear,” Rohit said. “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.”
Is Washington the stand-by for Axar in World Cup squad?
Is Washington in the frame for the World Cup?
Asked specifically about Washington’s role and where he stands in the bigger scheme of things, given India’s World Cup squad lacks an offspinner, Rohit said he had been communicating with those who the team management thinks may have a role to play, even if they don’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,” Rohit said. “He’s very much in line, so is Washy. 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.
“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.
“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.”
Shreyas IyerRohit SharmaAxar PatelWashington SundarIndiaSri Lanka vs IndiaICC Cricket World CupAsia Cup
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo