KL Rahul set to miss Champions Trophy

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KL Rahul hurt his left shoulder while batting in the Pune Test against Australia in February © AFP

India opener KL Rahul, who is sitting out the IPL with a shoulder injury, has revealed he is unlikely to regain full fitness in time for the Champions Trophy.

“I have to wait and see but the chances are slim,” he told the Times of India.

Rahul injured his left shoulder during the first Test against Australia in Pune in late February, and played with pain through the rest of the series.

“I had torn my labrum [a ring of fibrocartilage attached to the shoulder socket]. I couldn’t get into a few positions because my shoulder kept dislocating. That’s why I couldn’t play a lot of shots and had to restrict myself. I played with a lot of medication and taping.”

Despite this, Rahul finished the series as India’s second-highest run-getter, with 393 runs at 65.50 including six fifties in seven innings. After the series, Rahul travelled to England to undergo surgery – he said it might take his shoulder “2-3 months” to recover fully.

“The doctor said it will take 2-3 months. Each body is different, so you don’t know how it recovers,” he said. “It is totally up to me and how I well I take care of myself in the rehab phase. For now, it is 2-3 weeks of relaxing and after that, I will start physiotherapy. My rehab will start from there.”

The injury, Rahul said, occurred when he hit a six against Steve O’Keefe on day two of the Pune Test.

“It is a sports injury but the doctor was surprised it happened because of batting,” he said. “It mostly happens in contact sports where people run into you.

“The physio [Patrick Farhart] was surprised because there was no such major incident. It was that moment in Pune when I played a shot – not the one I got out to, but the one that went for six. That’s when I knew that my shoulder dislocated and went back in. I got out playing the same shot, so by then it was completely damaged. I couldn’t do anything after that.”

Still only in his third year as an international cricketer, Rahul has already missed a number of matches with injury or illness.

“It is frustrating for a young man who is new to international cricket – it’s been two-and-a-half years now,” Rahul said. “I’ve already been injured twice or thrice. It makes me think about what I am doing wrong.

“I can’t see any reason why I keep getting injured because I am disciplined with my fitness and my diet and I look after my body. Now is the time to see what I can change in training. To be injury-free is wishful thinking for a sportsman. To be fit and minimize injuries will be my goal once I get back.”

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