Asia Cup: Gambhir raises concerns about Iyer’s fitness, availability to play in World Cup
Colombo: Shreyas Iyer’s return to international cricket after a back injury which surgery hasn’t gone beyond playing league stage of the Asia Cup, with him batting once against Pakistan. Before the Super Four match against Pakistan, Iyer was a last-minute pull-out due to back spasms.
Despite practising hard ahead of the inconsequential game against Bangladesh alongside trainer S Rajinikanth, he wasn’t drafted to play eleven. While the BCCI said Iyer has “shown improvement”, he is still “not yet fully fit”, raising concerns over his availability for the upcoming Men’s ODI World Cup on home soil.
Gautam Gambhir, the former India opener and member of the 2011 ODI World Cup-winning team, is doubtful of Iyer being fit enough to play for the side in the upcoming mega event.
“I don’t think these are simple concerns, these are major ones. You come back after a long time because of injury, then you get picked to play one match in the Asia Cup and then you become unfit again. I don’t think team management should take such risks before a big tournament,”
“You’ll see soon that Shreyas Iyer is not going to be part of the World Cup team, someone will replace him. At the World Cup, you have to go with fit players, performance or non-performance concerns are different. There if a player gets a spasm or an injury during an important match, you will not get a substitute, not in fielding because this is an internal injury, not an external one,” said Gambhir on the Disney+ Hotstar platform, where the ongoing Asia Cup final is being streamed for free.
Before the back injury forced him out of competitive cricket action midway through the fourth Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test against Australia in Ahmedabad in March this year, Iyer was a mainstay at No.4 in ODIs, averaging 45.69.
“You cannot take such big risks in a big match for example against England or Australia. So in my opinion, Shreyas Iyer was not fit for this Asia Cup and he will not be fit to play at the World Cup either. Firstly because of the injury, and secondly, we don’t know his form.”
“It is not like Shreyas Iyer performed very well and you are taking an in-form player; your form was good before the IPL, but after the IPL, he has played only one inning. I think it is unfortunate, but I think that is how it is with injuries,” added Gambhir, who also won the 2007 Men’s T20 World Cup with the Indian team.
The former left-handed batter also questioned the role of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, who were in charge of Iyer’s rehabilitation and recovery.
“If you have to question, I think you can question the National Cricket Academy because he was in the National Cricket Academy for a long time and I’m sure the National Cricket Academy must have given clearance after testing everything.”