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‘Last minute swap..,’ Rohit recalls how KL Rahul replaced Shreyas Iyer in the India vs Pakistan match


In the 2016 Indian Premier League (IPL) season, the talented KL Rahul was given the opportunity to play for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) when Mandeep Singh was injured right before the coin toss.

Rahul introduced himself to the IPL by delivering an impressive half-century performance, and he played a complementary role alongside Virat Kohli during that period.

Interestingly, fate intervened as Rahul found himself in a similar situation years later, being included in India’s playing XI at the last minute on a Sunday, once again teaming up with a formidable Kohli.

Shreyas Iyer had to withdraw from the highly anticipated India vs. Pakistan Asia Cup Super Four match due to back spasms, a decision made just moments before the coin toss. Iyer’s unfortunate injury created an opportunity for KL Rahul to secure a spot in the starting lineup. This comeback marked a significant moment for the former vice-captain, who had been sidelined by a lengthy injury.

Also Read: India vs Pakistan Highlights, Asia Cup 2023 Updates: India secures biggest win against Pakistan by 228 runs

The 31-year-old had sustained an injury during the lead-up to the Asia Cup, causing him to miss the tournament’s group stage. His return to the playing XI was only possible because Shreyas Iyer encountered a similar issue during the warm-up session.

KL Rahul, who had recovered from his injury, demonstrated his gratitude to the selectors by delivering an outstanding century in his return match against Pakistan. In that particular encounter, the Indian wicketkeeper-batsman partnered with Kohli to establish a record-breaking alliance during the 9th match of the continental tournament.

Following India’s victory over Pakistan, Captain Rohit disclosed that Rahul had been notified of his inclusion just five minutes prior to the coin toss.

Also Read: India vs Sri Lanka, Asia Cup 2023: When, where and how to watch the match; live-streaming details

“Virat’s innings was brilliantly paced. And then KL, last minute to get back from injury and play 5 minutes before the toss. We told him to get ready. Shows the mindset of the player. Looking at how we batted, there were lots of positives with the openers and then Virat and KL,” said Rohit.

KL Rahul and Virat Kohli established a historic partnership of 233 runs for India against Babar Azam’s Pakistani team. This partnership between Kohli and Rahul marked the highest ever recorded in the history of the Asia Cup. 

Regarding India’s commanding 228-run victory over Pakistan, Captain Rohit also shared his thoughts on the return of the pace ace, Jasprit Bumrah. Bumrah played a pivotal role by dismissing opener Imam-ul-Haq, which set the tone for India’s dominant performance.

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Updated: 12 Sep 2023, 11:42 AM IST

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.