Asia Cup 2018: The MSK Prasad-led national selection committee announced the 15-man squad for the upcoming Asia Cup to be held in UAE. The selectors have decided to rest skipper Virat Kohli citing heavy workload and the team will be led by Rohit Sharma in his absence. Rohit had led the team to a victory in the Nidhadas Trophy earlier this year. His opening partner Shikhar Dhawan has been named as Rohit’s deputy. The leader of India’s fast-bowling unit Bhuvneshwar Kumar has made a comeback to the side after an injury giving a major boost to the side.
In Kohli’s absence, KL Rahul us likely to take up the number 3 slot while there will be a tough contest between Manish Pandey, Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik for the number four position – an area that continues to trouble India with months left for 2019 ICC ODI World Cup. Kedar Jadhav’s return from an injury meant that Suresh Raina was left out of the squad and Mahendra Singh Dhoni will once again take up the keeping duties for the side.
In the bowling department, the onus to take wickets would be on the spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. Axar Patel has been selected as the third spinner ahead of Washington Sundar and Ravindra Jadeja.
The fast-bowling unit looks strong as Bhuvi will be joined by an in-form Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur and Hardik Pandya. The selectors have also given a maiden call-up to Rajasthan fast-bowler Khaleel Ahmed who had an outstanding domestic season and was picked by Sunrisers Hyderabad for the Indian Premier League.
The tournament involving Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and an unconfirmed qualifier, gets underway on September 15 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with the final on September 29. India are placed in Group B with their arch-rivals Pakistan and a qualifier. As of the now, the Indian team is playing a five-match Test series in England.
Here is the Indian team for Asia Cup 2018 – Rohit Sharma (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur and Kahleel Ahmed.