Shreyas Iyer remains doubtful for Asia Cup 2023 as back pain continues to trouble him

With World Cup 2023 set to begin in around three months, the absence of star players continues to haunt Team India. Shreyas Iyer’s back pain is said to be troubling him again as the middle-order batter is unlikely to get fit in time for the Asia Cup 2023, scheduled from August 31 to September 17.

Having last played a competitive game back in March during the final Test of the Border-Gavaskar series in Ahmedabad, Iyer missed all the action since, including the ODI series against Australia, the IPL 2023 for Kolkata Knight Riders and the World Test Championship (WTC) Final at the Oval.

Although Ajinkya Rahane filled his shoes in the one-off Test, scoring 89 and 46 in two innings, Iyer’s absence was felt as India failed to win the Test title for the second straight time.

Meanwhile, Iyer underwent back surgery in London and continues to undergo physiotherapy at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. As per the source close to the information, Iyer is still dealing with back pain, while his chances of getting fit in time for the multi-team tournament, co-hosted by Pakistan and Sri Lanka this time, look bleak.

“Iyer recently took an injection for his back pain at the BCCI’s National Cricket Academy. His back is still giving him trouble,” a source told the Times of India (TOI).

Road ahead looks rough for Iyer

After a brilliant 2022 with the bat in ODIs, wherein he scored 724 runs from 15 innings, Iyer shined in the away two-match Test series against Bangladesh later last year; but again missed the home New Zealand series due to a reoccurrence of pain in his back. Though he missed the first Test against Australia in Nagpur for the same reason, Iyer returned for the remaining three Tests.  

Even for forthcoming India’s tour of the West Indies, which begins with the first of the two Tests on July 12 in Dominica, Ajinkya Rahane has retained his place, while Ruturaj Gaikwad and Yashasvi Jaiswal are picked as backups. 

As selectors continue to ignore Sarfaraz Khan for the middle-order spot in Tests despite his gigantic numbers in the past three years in Ranji Trophy, it looks like a blessing in disguise for Iyer – on whom the selection committee is banking. 

Meanwhile, in the white-ball circuit, India tried Suryakumar Yadav during the Aussies, but he failed miserably, getting out on a first-ball duck in three straight matches. With Iyer not in the scheme of things for now, India will either continue with SKY in the middle overs or rope in a new face, someone like Sanju Samson, ahead of the home World Cup in October-November.

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