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December 6, 2023 10:36 am

Iyer to prove his fitness, Surya his worth during World Cup dress rehearsal

Mohali, September 21

Shreyas Iyer’s dodgy match-fitness will be put to ultimate test while Suryakumar Yadav’s desperation to alter a dismal ODI record adds a fascinating sub-text to India’s three-game series against Australia, which also serves as a final dress rehearsal before the World Cup, beginning next month.

The series, beginning Friday, will see pillars of Indian batting – skipper Rohit Sharma and the brilliant Virat Kohli — resting for the first two games along with lead spinner Kuldeep Yadav and premier all-rounder Hardik Pandya. It will be head coach Rahul Dravid’s final chance to assess his bench strength.

The two Mumbai batters – both very different players from each other — are fighting their own little battles to be a part of the most important tournament of their lives.

The 28-year-old Iyer hasn’t played much cricket in last six months due to stress fracture surgery. A stiff back just before an Asia Cup match against Pakistan raised questions about his fitness.

As chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar has said that Iyer is good to go in the three games but whether his body is holding for 100 overs during the three games over next five days, will be observed keenly.

As much as Ishan Kishan has done his bit, India will need Iyer, the proverbial slayer of spin bowling in the middle overs during the World Cup.

For Surya, literally ‘SKY’ has been the limit in T20Is but before anything else, he perhaps need an uncluttered mind about what kind of role is he looking at in ODI cricket.

In today’s day and age, 27 ODIs are a lot and less than 25 average is neither a true reflection of his talent nor his capabilities.

Surya won’t be a starter in playing XI during the World Cup but for his own good, he would want the team management to be assured that they didn’t make a wrong choice. Tilak Varma is hot on his heels and at 33, he won’t practically get a shot at another 50-over World Cup.

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