India announced a 16-man squad for the upcoming Asia Cup in UAE from September 15 to 28. Captain Virat Kohli has been rested, while Khaleel Ahmed got his maiden call-up to the Indian side. In Kohli’s absence, Rohit Sharma will lead the side with Shikhar Dhawan as vice-captain.

The Asia Cup will begin four days after the long and grueling England series. Virat Kohli has been part of the ODI, T20, and Test squads and has played in all the matches. Kohli continued to play in the Test series with a sore back that has been causing him discomfort for some time.

MSK Prasad, the Chairman of selectors said that Kohli has been rested “considering the workload”.

“He has been playing continuously, yes he’s on the road since IPL, that’s looking at workload. I’ve been [to England] for the third Test match, we sat for a discussion regarding workload management, so we need to preserve some players who are playing all three formats. Looking at that workload issue we have started with Virat and rested him. Other all-format players will also be rested in due course”, he said at the press conference announcing the squad.

Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, and Umesh Yadav are part of Indian squad to England tour since the beginning of the ODI series in July. All four have been included in the Asia Cup squad and will fly to UAE after the fifth test result.

Amabti Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav have been recalled to the team. Ambati Rayudu has cleared the yo-yo test and Jadhav has recovered from his hamstring surgery. Suresh Raina and Shreyas Iyer who played the ODI series against England have been excluded. Both the batsmen did not have significant performances in the matches. Siddharth Kaul and Umesh Yadav also faced the axe.

Manish Pandey forced his way into the squad with his red-hot form for India A in the quadrangular series. He scored 306 runs in four innings without being dismissed.

Jasprit Bumrah returns to the ODI side. Bumrah suffered a thumb injury in the T20 encounter against Ireland and missed out the ODI series against England. He returned to the side in time to play in the Third test. Bhuveshwar Kumar was sent back to India after he sustained a back injury in the third ODI against England. He missed out on playing in the test series. He played for the India A side in the 3rd-4th place playoff match against South Africa A in the quadrangular series on August 29. He took 3 wickets for 33 runs in his 9 overs.

Apart from these exclusions, the rest of the squad remains the same except for a new face – Khaleel Ahmed. The left arm pacer from Rajasthan has played only two first-class matches but has been a regular face in the India A setup. The 20-year-old has taken 28 wickets from 27 List A matches averaging 4.74. He is also a part Sunrisers Hyderabad’s bowling line up in IPL.

Squad – Rohit Sharma (captain), Shikhar Dhawan (vice-captain), K L Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Khaleel Ahmed.


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