Asia Cup 2018: India’s predicted XI for match against Hong Kong
The Rohit Sharma-led Indian team will kick start their Asia Cup 2018 campaign against Hong Kong and they would look to lay a marker for the rest of the tournament. Regular skipper Virat Kohli’s absence from the team has received plenty of headlines, but the defending champions seem to have all the bases covered going into Asia’s biggest tournament.
We take a look at the predicted XI for the match against Hong Kong.
Captain Rohit Sharma is all chuffed to lead his side and in the absence of Virat Kohli, he has to step up as a batsman too. He had a decent ODI series in England and should enjoy the conditions on offer. This match will be a great opportunity for him to get into the groove ahead of the all-important match against Pakistan.
The left-hander had a forgettable Test series against England, but has been a top player for India in the limited overs format and he will once again be a key player for India, more so in the absence of Virat Kohli. After the seaming conditions in England, Dhawan should be more at home in the sweltering heat and on pitches which should be conducive to stroke-makers.
The right-hander ended the England tour with a superb century in the final innings at Oval and should get a long rope at the number 3 position. However, his ODI career has not been as impressive and this tournament gives him a great opportunity to do justice to his talent.
He failed the yo-yo test which cost him his place for the England series, but Ambati Rayudu is back and should get a go-ahead at the number four position. He was in tremendous form in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the Chennai Super Kings and this tournament could well vault him into the World Cup squad.
Despite a nightmarish tour of England, Dinesh Karthik should be in the playing XI owing to his prowess on slow sluggish pitches against the spinners. He has been a good limited overs player and with his experience, he can also be a finisher for India.
The seasoned campaigner is back for India and he holds the key, not only as a wicket-keeper batsman but as a go-to man for Rohit Sharma when the going gets tough out in the field. He did not have an entirely bumper ODI series against England, and this tournament is another opportunity for him to drive his importance to this team.
He blew hot and cold in England, but Hardik Pandya has certainly progressed as an all-rounder for India. In the extreme heat, his fitness and bowling abilities should be a cushion for Rohit Sharma. Also, his big-hitting prowess lower down the order could be a big bonus for India.
Kuldeep Yadav has been a consistent performer for the Indian cricket team in limited overs and although the spinner failed to impress during the Test series against England, he will surely find a place in the team when they take on Hong Kong in the Asia Cup 2018 opener.
With the high-voltage clash against Pakistan coming only a day after India’s match against Hong Kong, first-choice seamers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah could be rested and this could give a chance to Shardul Thakur to showcase his potential.
The young left-arm seamer was a surprise selection in the squad and he can now get a debut owing to the taxing itinerary. It will also give the Indian management to see and test Khaleel’s temperament at the highest level as they are searching for a good left-arm bowler.
The leg-spinner has been one of India’s match-winner in the recent past with the white ball, but this tournament could well be his biggest test in his career so far. With Kuldeep expected to be rested for the match, Chahal needs to step up and get the job done.
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