Indian skipper Virat Kohli has been rested for the upcoming Asia Cup to be held in Dubai. Considering the workload on Kohli, the selectors have decided to pull him back. Rohit Sharma will lead the side in his absence. Kohli has been playing non-stop cricket and even after Asia Cup, there is plenty lined up for the Indian team including the long tour of Australia.
MSK Prasad, the chairman of the selection committee, mentioned that Kohli has been on the field for long and it’s time to preserve him as he plays all 3 formats of the game. Looking ahead, India needs him for the World Cup 2019 and despite Asia Cup being an important tournament, it’s wise to rest him considering the issues that he has had with his back on the England tour.
“He has been playing for quite some time and looking at the workload we have given him the rest. I would like to say that I was there for the third Test match and we sat for a discussion about the workload management. We need to preserve our precious players who play all three formats and looking at that workload issue we decided to rest him for the Asia Cup,” said Prasad.
The 16-member squad saw some major changes. Suresh Raina, Umesh Yadav and Siddharth Kaul, who were in the side for the England ODI series, have been excluded. Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav and Ambati Rayudu have made comebacks to the squad while the 20-year-old pacer Khaleel Ahmed earns his maiden call-up.
In the recently concluded quadrangular series involving India A, India B, South Africa A and Australia A, Manish Pandey pulled off some stunning performances. He scored 306 runs in 4 innings having 1 hundred and 2 fifties. He was never dismissed in the whole tournament.
Rayudu makes a comeback after being excluded from the England tour for failing the Yo-Yo Test. On the other hand, Jadhav was suffering from the hamstring injury since the first match of the IPL 2018. India have been struggling to find a permanent candidate for the N0.4 slot in the batting line-up and the selectors would be looking at these 3 players in the Asia Cup.
The selectors have once again overlooked Mayank Agarwal who has been shining with some staggering numbers in the recent series. Prasad said that Mayank is just on the cusp of selection and will be considered soon.
“Mayank has been fantastic and has been performing consistently in the last the last 10-12 months time. He is just a step way and I’m sure in due course I’m sure he will get his recognition. He did well in all three formats in whatever opportunities he got in domestic cricket and for India A. We will definitely look at him when we rest some of those senior cricketers,” said Prasad.
India will have their premier pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah back. Bhuvneshwar, who missed the England Test series due to an injury, has regained fitness. Bumrah too will feature in the line-up after missing the England ODIs due to a finger injury. Khaleel Ahmed is a newbie in the team. The left-arm pacer has impressed in the recent A games and fills the gap of a left-arm pacer in the side.
Asia Cup begins on September 15 while India start their campaign on September 18 against a qualifying team. The major clash against Pakistan will take place on September 19.
Check out the full Asia Cup schedule here.
India’s squad for Asia Cup 2018
Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan (vc), KL Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Khaleel Ahmed