New Delhi. KL Rahul, the first choice as senior opener and vice-captain, is expected to make a comeback along with pacer Deepak Chahar in the Indian squad to be selected for the Asia Cup on August 8. The Asia Cup will be held in T20 format in Dubai and Sharjah from August 27 to September 11. Rahul was expected to make a comeback in the team for their on-field ODI series against Zimbabwe but he failed to make a full recovery from the recent sports hernia surgery due to the Covid-19 infection.
It will be interesting to see whether the Chetan Sharma-led selection committee picks 15 players or picks a 17-member squad keeping in mind all possible options. From the Indian team of Asia Cup, it will be guessed to a great extent that what will be the composition of the Indian team for the T20 World Cup. India has about a dozen matches to play before the first T20 World Cup match against arch-rivals Pakistan on 23 October at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Will KL Rahul play as an opener in the team?
In the last six T20 matches, Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar Yadav have been the opening partners of Rohit Sharma. However, on his return to the team, Rahul will once again get a place in the top order. A source in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said on the condition of anonymity, “Lokesh Rahul does not need to prove anything. Whenever he plays T20 he always plays as a specialist opener and the same thing will continue. In future, Suryakumar and Rishabh will play as specialist middle-order batsmen.
Indian Premier League (IPL) However, Rahul, who has scored a lot of runs in T20 Internationals, has been criticized for his slow batting while opening the innings in T20 Internationals. Team India, however, has adopted a strategy of ‘attack at any cost’ in the powerplay, which has been done well by both Pant and Suryakumar. In such a situation, Rahul will definitely have to change his game in the continental tournament in UAE.
No threat to Virat Kohli at number three
Virat Kohli’s form is the biggest concern for the Indian team but the number three position of this star batsman does not see any threat at the moment. There hasn’t been much discussion about Kohli’s future in the shortest format of the game. Even if he does not perform effectively in the Asia Cup, his years of experience and match-winning ability will be difficult to ignore for the T20 World Cup to be held in Australia.
Dinesh Karthik will get chances in every match
Dinesh Karthik has almost confirmed his place in the middle order while Deepak Hooda will be the first backup option in future. It will be interesting to see whether the selectors choose Ishan Kishan as an additional opener and wicket-keeper option or choose Sanju Samson as an aggressive middle-order batsman and wicket-keeper option. Whatever the selectors decide, one of these two is almost certain to be out.
Deepak Chahar will have to prove fitness
In the bowling unit, Deepak Chahar will return for the ODI series against Zimbabwe and there is every possibility that he will also be picked in the squad for the Asia Cup. A BCCI source said, “Deepak was one of India’s consistent performers in T20Is before getting injured. He deserves a fair chance and at the same time we need an equal replacement for Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Also, if he is making a comeback, he will have to play a lot of matches to get the momentum.
Sundar-Shami will not get a chance
Harshal Patel has reportedly suffered a rib injury and his inclusion in the team will depend on fitness. As far as the off-spinner is concerned, Washington Sundar will not be considered for the T20 World Cup as the team management wants to go ahead with Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel besides veteran Ravichandran Ashwin. Similarly, Mohammed Shami has also been told that his name will be considered only for Tests and ODIs.
Probable squad for Asian Cup:
Fixed Players (13): Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Back Up Batsman: Deepak Hooda/Ishaan Kishan/Sanju Samson
Back up fast bowler Arshdeep Singh/Avesh Khan/Deepak Chahar/Harshal Patel
back up spinner Akshar Patel/Kuldeep Yadav/Ravi Bishnoi.
FIRST PUBLISHED : August 04, 2022, 22:18 IST