Reigning champions India will look to continue their good run in upcoming Asia Cup 2018 when they start their campaign on September 18 (Tuesday) at Dubai International Stadium.
Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will host this tournament commencing from September 15. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will lock horns in the tournament opener at the Dubai International Stadium.
So far, there have been 13 Asia Cup tournaments starting from 1984. India won the first Asia Cup title beating Sri Lanka and since then went on to win another five. On the other hand, Sri Lanka had won five while Pakistan had managed to win only twice.
Team India have been playing a lot of cricket off-late and the selectors might opt to rest few the regulars, who features in all the format. They are likely to rotate the players to keep them fresh for the upcoming tour to Australia. This might be a welcome call for many cricketers who will aim to present their case to the selectors.
Here is the 15-member probable India squad in the absence of main cricketers:
ROHIT SHARMA (C)
Rohit Sharma showed some good form in the recently concluded limited-over series against England. With the responsibility of leading the side on his shoulders again, Rohit will be keen to make the most out of it.
He will be fresh from a break and will aim to bring the trophy back.
KL Rahul has been the most impressive of all batsmen scoring tons of runs in all the formats. However, Rahul lacked consistency in the recently concluded ODI and T20I series against England.
However, the team management will look to give him an extended run in a bid to settle the no four spot ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
The 32-year-old, Ambati Rayadu has been in terrific form recently scoring tons of runs with the bat. After a stunning stint in the IPL, the selectors included him in the ODI squad of England. However, he failed to clear to the Yo-Yo test.
However, he made an immediate mark for India A squad in the quadrangular series. It will be a huge opportunity for him and Rayudu will look to grab it with both hands.
Shreyas Iyer is one of the most exciting talents to be around the India squad for quite some time now. He has scored some runs but lacked consistency which has been a significant worry for him.
Iyer will look to make this opportunity count if he gets some game time this time in the UAE.
The veteran India cricketer has had a touch-and-go form since making his comeback to the ODI side. However, playing in the subcontinent conditions will make him an obvious choice in the playing XI.
Moreover, his part off-spin will also come in handy for skipper Virat Kohli. Suresh Raina, on the other hand, will look to get some runs under his belt and push his case for the 2019 World Cup next year.
MS DHONI (WK)
MS Dhoni attracted a lot of criticism for his slow innings in the last two ODIs against England. Many advocated that he must retire from international cricket. However, he got the backing of his skipper and coach.
Dhoni has a lot of experience behind, and his ability to read match situation is unparallel.
On his wicket-keeping front, MS Dhoni is still one of the best in the business and will be a key component in the 2019 World Cup squad.
Kedar Jadhav is returning from injury and will look to have an immediate impact. He had a great start to the IPL but sustained an injury in the opening game itself.
This will be a huge opportunity for the all-rounder as the selectors will look to settle the squad for the World Cup next year.
The young wicket-keeper batsman will be a handy customer in the middle-order. The confidence Pant showed in his Test debut will push his case if the selectors decide to rest few of the senior cricketers.
Meanwhile, he can hit the ball hard and can chip in with quick runs at the end.
Krunal Pandya has been a consistent performer for the Mumbai Indians side in the IPL. Riding on his consistency, he bagged a place in India A squad. Furthermore, he was also roped in as a replacement in India’s T20I squad against England, however, didn’t get an opportunity.
This will be a huge opportunity for Krunal to make a mark for the future as he can contribute in all the departments.
The young duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav has set the bar high for the spinners across the world. Chahal has turned out to be a match-winner for Virat Kohli bagging wickets at regular intervals.
However, Chahal struggled to pick wickets in England and will be keen to come back stronger in the 2019 Asia Cup.
Kuldeep Yadav has been in exceptional form in the last one year cementing his place in the white-ball squad. His emergence has led to the disappearance of premier spinners like Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja from the scene.
The young tweaker has a lot of variations, and the opposition batsmen will have a tough time trying to figure him out.
Shardul Thakur has been with the Indian side for quite a long time now. This will be a perfect opportunity for the pacer to prove his mettle in the Asia Cup 2018.
The fast bowler from Mumbai has grown in stature and will have to lead the attack in the absence of senior cricketers.
Mohammed Siraj has been in excellent form recently for the India A team. He has bowled good line and length and has been among the wickets. This will be great opportunity for the young pacer to present his case to the selectors.
Deepak Chahar has impressed one and all in the recently concluded IPL playing for the Chennai Super Kings. Moreover, he played a significant role in Chennai’s title-winning campaign.
The young seamer will be keen to push his case if an opportunity comes his way.
Siddarth Kaul has been impressive in the Indian Premier League for quite a few years now. As a result, he got into the national side recently. Although he didn’t have much impact, Kaul can be impactful with both new ball and in the death overs.
It will be a great opportunity for the pacer from Punjab in the absence of senior cricketers in the Asia Cup 2018.