India Asia Cup Squad: Sportsrush presents before you the probable list of players who will be named in the Asia Cup squad.
With the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) set to announce the Indian team for the upcoming Asia Cup tomorrow, let us go through the probable names which are likely to get the nod for contesting in UAE next month.
India’s previous ODI assignment was a three-match ODI series against England in July. Having lost the series 1-2, the selection committee would be looking to make the appropriate changes in a bid to make sure that India successfully defends the title. As has been the case from the last couple of years, the major concern for the team would be to set down on a permanent No. 4 batsman.
Other than that, finding a No. 6 batsman, preferably someone who bowls as well, is another area of concern. With the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 less than a year away, the selection committee (headed by MSK Prasad) would be looking to resolve these issues.
Here is the first string Indian squad for the Asia Cup 2018:
Top-Order – The reliable pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma are likely to don the openers’ coat in the playing eleven. The tried and tested top-order will include captain Virat Kohli as well. The trio has bailed out India several in the recent years.
Middle-Order – An unsettled Indian middle-order is all in likeliness to be chopped in this tournament as well. Lokesh Rahul batted at No. 4 in the first two ODIs against England, scoring 9* and 0 at Trent Bridge and Lord’s respectively. Dinesh Karthik replaced Rahul in the third ODI at Headingley, but ended up scoring 21 (22). With both of them set to be retained in the squad, one of them is likely to play at No. 4.
Former captain and wicket-keeper batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni and all-rounder Hardik Pandya would most likely bat at No. 5 and No. 7. Suresh Raina was included in the squad for England series as the batsman who can bowl a bit, returning with scores of 46 and 1 in the two innings that he batted. Just like his batting, series bowling figures of 7-1-42-0 didn’t promise too much in terms of him being a permanent member for that spot.
Kedar Jadhav, who lost his spot due to an injury during the tour of South Africa, has regained fitness now. Despite scoring a paltry 30 runs in four matches at an average of 15 during the recently concluded quadrangular series, he seems to be the perfect fit for that role.
Manish Pandey, who did not get out to score 306 runs in four matches at a strike rate of 100.99 in the same series, is likely to pin Shreyas Iyer for the spot of a reserve batsman in the side.
Wicket-keeper & All-rounder – As mentioned above, Dhoni will be the designated wicket-keeper in the side with Karthik available to provide cover. Talking about the all-rounders, Hardik Pandya and Axar Patel are likely to share the duties during the series.
Fast bowlers – With Bhuvneswar Kumar fit and making an impressive comeback in the final of the quadrangular series, he is likely to lead the fast bowling line-up. In Jasprit Bumrah, he will be accompanied by someone with whom he has made run-scoring difficult for the opposition batsmen in the recent past. The duo would be duly assisted by Umesh Yadav.
After his praiseworthy show in the domestic circuit and the IPL, Siddarth Kaul couldn’t make full use of the two ODIs which he played in England, giving away runs at 6.72 in 18 wicket-less overs. Even in the quadrangular series, he picked up three wickets in four matches at an average of 44.66 and a strike rate of 52. That being said, he might still get the nod in the name of more chances at the highest level.
Spinners – In Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, India have a couple of wrist-spinners who have hurt various opposition teams in the past. Both of them are likely to enjoy the conditions in UAE.
Probable Squad: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Lokesh Rahul, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul.
Given the demands of the modern game and the fact that some players have remained on the trot for quite sometime now, another possibility of this selection committee is rest being granted to players who play all the formats of the game. Notable names among them are Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah.
If that happens, Lokesh Rahul might be seen opening the batting alongside the stand-in captain in Rohit Sharma. Talking about the replacements, demanding on the need, Shreyas Iyer, Ambati Rayudu and Mayank Agarwal might be given a go. Iyer was below par in the quadrangular series, scoring 98 runs in four matches at an average of 24.50.
On the other hand, Rayudu had put on display a much-needed (for him) show, scoring 187 runs in four matches at an average of 62.33. With him also clearing the Yo-Yo Test now, he is likely to remain in the thick of the things. The selectors might also give a maiden call to Agarwal for he has been in stellar form.
In the recently-concluded series, Agarwal scored 236 runs in four matches at an average of 59 and a strike rate of 96.72. In the tri-series (including England Lions and West Indies A) held before the quadrangular tourney, he was the highest run-scorer for India, scoring 287 runs in four matches at an average of 71.75 and a strike rate of 105.90. Grooming him in such a tournament in a side comprising of Rohit Sharma (also a potential opening partner) and MS Dhoni might be the best way to bring out the best out of him.