Mahela Jayawardena expresses concern over Virat Kohli, KL Rahul's inclusion in Asia Cup squad

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Mahela Jayawardena has pointed out the potential problems with KL Rahul and Virat Kohli's addition to India's squad

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Mahela Jayawardena expresses concern over Virat Kohli, KL Rahul's inclusion in Asia Cup squad

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SportsCafe Desk

08/10/2022

Mahela Jayawardena has highlighted the flip side of the coin with regards to KL Rahul and Virat Kohli's inclusion in India's Asia Cup squad. While Rahul was attributed with low match fitness, Kohli's lacking-form was also indicated by the veteran albeit he expressed confidence in his abilities.

India is all set to potentially field their strongest eleven in the upcoming Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates, beginning on August 27. While the six-nation tournament is considered to be a prestigious trophy, the fact that there could be three potential clashes against Pakistan there means a lot of bragging rights are up for claim. The Men in Blue have recently been engulfed in a phase of experimentation in an attempt to select their team for the World T20 in October, one that finally seems to have ended. The only key player missing out from the squad is Jasprit Bumrah who is recovering from an injury at the National Cricket Academy but is sure to get a place in the lineup for the marquee event Down Under.

The biggest comeback to the squad is KL Rahul, who has been out of action ever since the IPL ended. Ahead of India's first series of the summer against South Africa, the top-order batter was ruled out with a groin injury thus missing out on a chance to lead the side. He was yet again set to return for the Caribbean tour that ended last week before COVID-19 further extended his rehabilitation period. Thus, with him returning only just in time for such a crucial series, Sri Lankan legend Mahela Jayawardene expressed concern over a lack of match fitness for the 30-year-old.

"That (Rahul's lack of cricket) would be a concern for India," Jayawardena told ICC as per Hindustan Times.

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"He has been out for a little while since the IPL, so having game time is quite crucial especially out there in the middle. The sooner he can get some game time and get that confidence back, is always going to help him, as well as the national team."

Another player returning to the squad after a while away is starlet Virat Kohli. The former skipper decided to sit out the matches against West Indies and Zimbabwe, after having last played on the tour of England. The 33-year-old has announced he will be ready to play in the Asia Cup and is eyeing strong performances in the World T20. However, the Delhite has had a dismal form of late averaging a little over 20 in the IPL before managing just 76 runs in six innings against England.

Even so, Jayawardena expressed full faith in Kohli's ability to spring back to form, given his impressive tally of over 20,000 international runs and magnificent past accolades.  

"It is unfortunate what Virat is going through right now at the moment, but he is a quality player. I believe Virat has the tools to come out of it (the form slump). He has done that in the past as well and I’m sure he’ll come through this. Class is permanent and form is temporary,” the veteran concluded on the matter.

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