ESPNcricinfo has learned that Iyer had informed the team management that he had experienced back spasms a day or two after the end of the second Test in Visakhapatnam, which India won to level the series 1-1. The BCCI medical staff, though, are understood to have cleared Iyer for selection.
Iyer then missed the IPL, where he leads Kolkata Knight Riders, but returned to play for India in the Asia Cup. However, recurring back spasms restricted his involvement to just two matches. But a successful ODI World Cup, where Iyer played impact innings in the middle order – including in the semi-final against New Zealand – suggested he had completely recovered.
Dropped from India’s T20I squad in the home series against Afghanistan in January, Iyer tested his match fitness for the England Test series by playing a Ranji Trophy match for Mumbai against Andhra, where he batted once and scored 48.
Rahul, who was ruled out of second Test because of a quad niggle, is expected to be fit for the second part of the England series. Now the selectors have to decide whether they want to retain Iyer or place their faith in Rajat Patidar, who made his debut in the second Test and impressed with his technique and composure. Not to forget, Sarfaraz Khan was also in the squad for the second Test, but didn’t get into the XI.
Bumrah to be rested for fourth or fifth Test?
Siraj was rested for the second Test, but is expected to return for the third in Rajkot starting February 15. Bumrah, too, is set to play the match, but is likely to get a break for one of the two final Tests – in Ranchi and Dharamsala.