The Indian team, last one to arrive at the UAE, finally begin their campaign in the 14th edition of the Asia Cup today. They’re set to take on Hong Kong on September 18, at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. With Virat Kohli being rested, opener Rohit Sharma is set to lead a rather empirical Indian side. India was has clubbed with Hong Kong and Pakistan in the same group. The other two played against each other on Sunday, September 16 in which Pakistan had secured an easy win against Hong Kong.
The Indian squad for the Asia Cup contest was announced on September 1. Familiar faces are hoped to be seen in the team for today. Rohit Sharma along with Dhawan will open for India today. In fact in Virat Kohli’s absence, the Sharma-Dhawan opening pair is going to be the key to India’s performance throughout the tournament. The rest of the most probable team, especially the middle order, looks pretty much settled too with familiar names in it. KL Rahul will be replacing Kohli at number 3.
The fourth, fifth, and sixth spot will be taken by Ambati Rayadu, MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav respectively. With Kedar Jadhav in the side, the other major role of a finisher should be assigned to Hardik Pandya who will likely take the seventh spot. Two out of the next four spots are most likely to be taken by the spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. But given to the fixtures India has assigned with, the other two spots can be tricky.
September 18 vs Hong Kong, Dubai
September 19 vs Pakistan, Dubai
(Both matches start at 5 pm IST)
Asia Cup: Look out for the rookies – Shardul Thakur and Khaleel Ahmed
With back to back matches for India, they might want to rest the regular quicks Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar today. The much-awaited India-Pakistan clash is set to take place tomorrow and India would likely have their regular quicks saved for that. In the light of it, new faces like Shardul Thakur(right-arm medium pacer) and Khaleel Ahmed(left-arm medium pacer) might get a chance against Hong Kong today. As we know, the Mumbaikar Shardul Thakur had played his ODI debut against Sri Lanka last year. This year though, in the Nidahas trophy, he had produced his career-best figures of 4/27 in one match. He has played a total of four ODI matches for India and could give his best in today’s match against Hong Kong. Along with his name, Khaleel Ahmed – a reliable name from the U-19s who is yet to make an international debut- could also be picked to add a fresh left-right combination in the fast bowlers’ set. Also, since Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been away from the international scene for a while, he might be incorporated to today’s playing XI just as a warm-up for tomorrow’s big game.