'If they are not fit..' - ex India cricketer suggests backup plan for Iyer, Rahul's World Cup absence

Both the critical middle-order picks are in race against time to recover from their respective back and hamstring surgery for the quadrennial event. 

A sense of worry and anxiety in the air is unavoidable when it comes to Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul's participation for the 2023 World Cup. The two cricketers are yet to recover from their respective back and hamstring surgery, even as the quadrennial event is just over a month away. 

In the sad absence of Rishabh Pant, Iyer and Rahul are India's best options to ace the critical spots at No.4 and No.5. But their potential World Cup absence could jeopardise the campaign, forcing the think-tank to create backup plans with limited matches and time up their sleeves. 

It's why, head coach Rahul Dravid opted to rest giants Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma during the three-match ODI series in the Caribbean and gave the likes of Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson and Suryakumar Yadav important game time in the middle. 

The two of them - Kishan and Samson - even managed to bolster their stocks and strengthen their cases as backup options for the quadrennial event in October-November. While Kishan, who is being seen as the backup for the formidable opening pair of Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma and as wicketkeeper to Rahul, struck three consecutive half-centuries, Samson only further improved his encouraging record with a fantastic knock in the decider. 

Saba Karim on India's backup plans for Iyer, Rahul's injury

Former India wicketkeeper-batter Saba Karim came up with a suggestion on how the team management and selectors can potentially go about their job if Rahul and Iyer are unfit and unavailable for the 2023 World Cup. 

An indirect update on the two cricketer's readiness for the showpiece event will arrive when the selectors finally announce the squad for the preceding Asia Cup tournament. The squad is expected to be out on August 20. 

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"The selectors should take KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer into consideration — they can be included in the team if they are fit. But the wait has not ended, the team will be announced on the 20th from what I know, they have the time until then," Karim said during a media interaction organised by 'Jio Cinema', insisting Kishan and Suryakumar are best options to go ahead with in such a scenario. 

"But if they are not fit, Ishan Kishan is a good option against Rahul since he can bat as an opener and in the middle-order," he added. "If Shreyas Iyer is not fit, you have 2-3 options to pick from, in Tilak Varma, Sanju Samson and Suryakumar Yadav."

"But for me, Suryakumar has gained experience of playing one-day cricket both domestically and internationally. I will still back Suryakumar Yadav."