Rahul Dravid delighted by star pacer's comeback prior to World Cup
India are set to depart to Sri Lanka for Asia Cup 2023 with a near full-strength squad at their disposal after a very long time. They have been ravaged by injuries of late that have hampered their preparation for the World Cup but most of the key players have made their recovery in time for the World Cup.
KL Rahul will extend his recovery by a week, but India rejoices in the return of Shreyas Iyer, Jasprit Bumrah, and Prasidh Krishna to ODI cricket after a long absence. Bumrah and Krishna exhibited strong performances during the Ireland T20I series following their injury comebacks.
Rahul Dravid conveyed his delight at the complete squad's return, yet indicated the team would carefully manage Bumrah's reintegration.
"Yeah, so it’s great to have them back and see them bowling, and bowling well, is truly good," Dravid said. "Jasprit is someone we’ve missed a lot over the last two years. I must say he’s not played a lot of games. But it’s nice to have him back and we’ll ease him into it, slowly.
"It was nice for him to get those 4 overs sort of, like the tour of Ireland, for both of them to ease in with sort of some four overs of bowling.
"And then now gives us a chance in the Asia Cup to build that up and pick that up and we have a whole month now to build that up before the World Cup as well.
"So, yes, it does gives us more options in the pace-bowling department. It gives us an opportunity to have more resources, especially in a long tournament like a World Cup."
The Asia Cup comes at the perfect time for India as they prepare for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup in October.
The World Cup will bring with it the pressure of performing well in front of the home crowd, considering the previous three editions of the 50-over tournament saw the host nation clinching the trophy, including India in 2011.
In his first stint as head coach at the senior men's World Cup, Dravid exuded confidence in the team's readiness and anticipates a closely fought tournament
"Yeah, there’s going to be a certain amount of pressure associated with it, which is most welcome and, which I think we all expect," Dravid said. "But also to be able to play in front of your own home crowds, your own fans, is going to be very special for everyone and we hope we can have a really good tournament.
"I think we’ve prepared, we’re preparing really well, we’re building up really nicely. It’s all hopefully coming together nicely with some of the guys coming back from injury just at the right time for us and hopefully, we can give them a few games and set it up really well.
"There are going to be some really good teams in this tournament. I think that whole thing of home advantage, especially in the subcontinent now has been reduced to a large extent over the last 10-12 years because people come and play here so much, especially in tournaments like the IPL.
"We feel confident, we’re really excited. I’m looking forward to it as a coach. I’m really looking forward to it as well."
Commencing on October 5, the World Cup starts with a rematch of the 2019 Final, featuring defending champions England taking on New Zealand. India's campaign begins on 8 October against Australia in Chennai, followed by a highly-anticipated match against Pakistan on 14 October in Ahmedabad.