In a surprising turn of events, Sanju Samson has been omitted from India’s Asia Cup squad, signaling a change in the team’s requirements. This unexpected decision was prompted by the return of KL Rahul to the squad for the Super 4 stage of the tournament.

Initially, Sanju Samson was chosen as a backup for KL Rahul, who had been sidelined due to a minor injury. Consequently, Samson was unavailable for the group-stage matches against Pakistan and Nepal. However, Rahul’s rapid recovery and clearance from the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru prompted this alteration.

During his comeback, KL Rahul engaged in an extensive batting practice session at Colombo’s indoor nets. Later, he reaffirmed his fitness by taking on the role of wicket-keeper for a 90-minute stint under the floodlights. Favorable weather conditions allowed the Indian team to conduct outdoor training in preparation for their Super 4 opener against Pakistan.

With KL Rahul now fit, Sanju Samson, who had been serving as his backup, has been released from the squad and sent back home.

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However, the rigorous wicket-keeping practice limited Rahul’s batting opportunity, as rain disrupted the training session. Meanwhile, key players such as Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, and Axar Patel, who had opted for an optional indoor session on Thursday, engaged in intensive training on Friday.

Jasprit Bumrah particularly stood out, giving his all and occasionally outfoxing Rohit and Kohli. The other fast bowlers, Shami and Siraj, also extended their practice sessions, while Axar Patel focused on honing his batting skills, especially for lower-order contributions. The team recognized the importance of Shardul Thakur, Axar, and Bumrah contributing vital runs towards the end of the innings.

In addition, part-time bowlers like Suryakumar Yadav and Tilak Varma bowled a significant number of overs during practice sessions. India also placed special emphasis on preparing for left-arm seamers, recognizing the threat posed by Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi.