Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir has said that Shreyas Iyer’s chances of making it to the World Cup 2023 squad is not looking good. Iyer’s persistent back injury woes have cast a cloud of uncertainty over his participation in the prestigious tournament.
Iyer’s injury began during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy earlier this year, eventually sidelining him from the 2023 Indian Premier League. However, optimism surrounded his return as he was deemed fit for the Asia Cup. Sadly, the he suffered a setback, getting his back injury on the very day of the India-Pakistan Super Four clash.
Gambhir emphasized the critical importance of fitness in such high-stakes tournaments. “It is a concern. You were out for such a lengthy time and then you return for Asia Cup, play one match and then again become unfit. I don’t think after this team management will pick up him for such a big tournament. You will see in the coming days that Iyer won’t be part of the World Cup squad and someone will be replacing him.You should always go into a World Cup with fit players,” he told Star Sports.
The cricketer-turned-commentator stressed that fitness should take precedence over performance. Iyer’s form remains a looming question mark since he has played just one innings in over six months.
“Performance is a different thing. Imagine if a player suffers from a spasm or some other thing then you cannot find a replacement. So if Iyer hasn’t been fit in this tournament then it is very difficult for him to be part of the World Cup because of his injury and then we don’t even know how is form is presently. Whatever his form was, it was 7-8 months back after which he only played in one game. So it is unfortunate,” he added.
Iyer’s recent stint in the Asia Cup saw him score 14 off nine deliveries against Pakistan before being replaced by KL Rahul in the Super Four stage. KL Rahul made a remarkable comeback with an unbeaten century against Pakistan.
Gambhir also raised questions about the National Cricket Academy’s (NCA) role in Iyer’s recurring back injuries and the possibility of premature fitness clearance.
“If questions are to be raised, then ask the NCA because that is where he was all these months and then got a clearance from there as well. Who knows maybe they cleared him too quickly?” Gambhir questioned.
With only ten days remaining before the final World Cup squad is announced, time is running out for Shreyas Iyer. The 28-year-old last played an ODI for India in the home series against Sri Lanka, boasting impressive stats batting at the crucial No. 4 position.