Asia Cup 2023: KL Rahul's fitness in focus as India gears up for conditioning camp
As the Indian team gears up for an intensive six-day conditioning camp, the spotlight is on KL Rahul's fitness ahead of the mega event.
Rahul's physical condition takes the spotlight as India kickstart a six-day conditioning camp in anticipation of the Asia Cup. The majority of the Asia Cup-bound squad, numbering fifteen out of eighteen players, have arrived at Bengaluru's Karnataka State Cricket Association's (KSCA) Three Ovals campus in Alur to participate in the camp. Notably, Bumrah, Samson, and Prasidh are set to join the team once they arrive from Ireland.
The purpose of the camp extends beyond just physical training; it also serves as a platform for team bonding before the team shifts its focus to the final stages of World Cup preparation. While the fitness of all players is a critical area of focus, particularly for those who recently played in the Caribbean, the camp's schedule entails fitness assessments and indoor sessions on the first day, followed by outdoor conditioning and skill-based programs from the subsequent days.
Senior players, who were not part of the T20Is in the Caribbean, received personalized fitness and dietary plans over the past two weeks. This approach is not novel, but it's worth noting that India is being cautious about player workloads due to a history of injuries among key players in recent years.
A topic of great interest revolves around KL Rahul's physical condition. Despite being deemed conditionally fit for the Asia Cup after recovering from a thigh injury and undergoing comprehensive rehabilitation at the NCA, Rahul is facing uncertainty due to a minor issue that might prevent him from playing the first two Asia Cup games. This information was conveyed by chief selector Ajit Agarkar during the squad announcement press conference.
Rahul's batting workload has been satisfactory, according to the NCA's medical team, but his wicketkeeping load is being closely monitored. Reports suggest that he experienced soreness after a practice match organized by the NCA last week.
In contrast, Shreyas Iyer is fully fit and prepared for action. This camp marks his return to the senior setup since the home Test series against Australia in March. Iyer has demonstrated positive performance in practice games and has also been facing net bowlers from the India A squad, who are part of a skill-based camp for emerging players at the NCA.
The team is scheduled to depart for Colombo from Bengaluru on August 30. India's campaign in the Asia Cup begins against Pakistan in Pallekele on September 2, with the potential to play up to six matches if they reach the final. Following the Asia Cup, India will play three ODIs at home against Australia before commencing their World Cup journey.
In recent news from the ICC, the warm-up fixtures for the tournament were announced. India is set to play against England and Netherlands on September 30 and October 3, respectively, before heading to Chennai for their opening match against Australia on October 8.