Wicketkeeper-batsman K.L. Rahul will miss India’s opening two games of the Asia Cup, including the clash with arch-rivals Pakistan, because of injury, coach Rahul Dravid said on Tuesday.
India open their campaign in the 50-over championship on September 2 with a showdown against Pakistan followed by a match with debutants Nepal two days later.
The Asia Cup, which starts Wednesday, is a final chance for teams from the region to size each other up before the World Cup in India starting in October.
The 31-year-old Rahul has not played any competitive cricket since he was injured during the Indian Premier League in April-May.
He has developed an injury niggle unrelated to the original thigh problem.
He will be assessed again on September 4, before the start of the Asia Cup Super Four stage, Dravid said.
“He’s progressing really well on the route that we want to take,” Dravid told reporters.
“But he will be unavailable for the first part (of the Asia Cup), for the Kandy leg of the trip.” Ishan Kishan is likely to keep wicket in Rahul’s absence, Indian media said.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka are co-hosting the Asia Cup, a hybrid model agreed after India refused to tour Pakistan.
India and Pakistan, who only play against each other in international tournaments due to their long-standing political tensions, will face off at Pallekele stadium in Kandy.
They are likely to meet again in the Super Four stage and could play again in the final in Colombo on September 17.