The selectors have decided to rest regular India skipper Virat Kohli for the upcoming edition of the Asia Cup 2018, commencing from September 15 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Board of Control for Cricket in India announced the 16-man squad on September 1 (Saturday).
In the meantime, Rohit Sharma will lead the side while his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan will be his deputy. India will start their campaign on September 18 with the qualifying team from the Asia Cup qualifiers.
Furthermore, they will square off against their arch-rivals Pakistan on September 19 at Dubai International Stadium.
MSK Prasad, chief of selectors, while announcing the team admitted that they are trying to manage the workload. He also added there is a need to protect players who are playing across formats.
“Considering the workload we have given Virat Kohli rest. He has been playing continuously for quite some time. We need to preserve some of our precious players who are playing all 3 formats, looking at that workload we have started with Virat & he will be rested for Asia Cup,” he said.
However, the exclusion of Kohli will create a massive void in the India team. He is the most prolific run-scorer in this side across all the formats. He has been the highest scorer for India in this ongoing year with 749 runs from nine matches at an average of 124.83.
Next up is Shikhar Dhawan, who has only 443 runs from the same number of games.
It is evident that the current Indian team relies heavily on Virat Kohli and it will be a great miss for the side in the 14th edition of Asia Cup 2018.
Teams like Pakistan, who pose a strong bowling attack will be keen to exploit this area. Moreover, Pakistan thrashed India last time when they faced in the Champions Trophy final in England on June 18.
On one side, it exposes the batting loopholes in the Indian side, however, on the other side, it was imperative to give Kohli the much-needed break.
With back to back important series lined-up, it will be pivotal to give the Delhi cricketer a much-needed break.
However, the onus now will be on Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, and KL Rahul to deliver and cash in on the opportunity. With the 2019 World Cup looming ahead, the youngsters will look to do good and make a strong case for themselves.
A good start from Rohit and Shikhar can also settle the unsettled middle-order in the absence of Kohli.
Rohit’s captaincy will also be under the scanner, who will lead the side in Kohli’s absence. However, he has done a good job with the side in Nidahas Trophy 2018 earlier this year.
Pertinently, India has done significantly well under Kohli. And Rohit will be keen to carry that in the Asia Cup 2018.
The defending champions India will look to retain their title when they take the field without the services of Virat Kohli in the Asia Cup 2018 slated in UAE.