Senior opener and first-choice vice-captain KL Rahul is expected to regain his place in the Indian team along with sailor Deepak Chahar when the squad is selected for the Asian Cup on August 8. The Asian Cup will be played in T20 format in Dubai and Sharjah from August 27 to September 11. Rahul was set to make a comeback for the out-of-ODI series in Zimbabwe, but an attack from COVID-19 has apparently delayed his recovery from the sports hernia surgery he recently underwent.
What would be interesting is to find out whether the selection committee, headed by Chetan Sharma, chooses a usual roster of 15 or expands it to 17, taking into account a chance to try all possible options.
The Indian Asian Cup squad will give a good idea of the team’s make-up for the T20 World Cup as the team will play about a dozen games before the flagship game against Pakistan in the MCG on October 23.
While Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar Yadav have been Rohit Sharma’s opening partners in the last six T20 games, Rahul will regain his place at the top of the ranks in this lineup.
“KL Rahul doesn’t have to prove anything. He’s a class player. When he plays T20 it’s always like a specialist opener and it would stay that way. Surya and Rishabh are ready to play as mid-range specialist hitters,” one said. BCCI source to PTI under conditions of anonymity.
One of the most prolific IPL performers, Rahul has often been criticized for his dated approach while opening the innings in T20Is.
But with the Indian team adopting an ‘attack at all costs’ philosophy in the Powerplay propagated by both Pant and Surya, Rahul will definitely have to change his game in the continental tournament in the UAE.
While Virat Kohli’s form has been the main concern for the Indian team, there is no imminent threat of mastering batter’s number 3 slot as he is determined to continue in the same slot.
There have been no specific discussions about Kohli’s future in the shortest format and even if he doesn’t have a great Asia Cup, his years of experience and match-winning ability will be hard to ignore for the big event in Australia, where experience always rules the sleeping place.
Dinesh Karthik has made his own mid-range slot while Deepak Hooda will be the first backup option in the future.
The interesting thing will be whether selectors prefer an extra opener/keeper in Ishan Kishan or an explosive middle-order backup/keeper in Sanju Samson. Either way, one of the two will miss.
In the bowling unit, Chahar, who is likely to make a comeback in Zimbabwe’s ODIs, will also be part of the Asia Cup-bound squad.
“Deepak was one of India’s consistent T20 bowlers before he got injured. He deserves a fair chance and we also need a like-for-like backup for Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Also now that he comes back he would have a lot of games to play.” get the rhythm back,” the source added.
Harshal Patel reportedly has a rib cage injury and his inclusion in the squad will be conditional on fitness.
As for the off-spinner position, Washington Sundar will not qualify for the T20 World Cup as the team management wants to build on Ravichandran Ashwin’s experience alongside Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel.
Similarly, Mohammed Shami has been informed that he will only be eligible for tests and ODIs.
Asia Cup Squad (in position) Certainties (13): Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (Vice Captain), Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Reserve fittings: Deepak Hooda/Ishan Kishan/Sanju Samson
Backup pacers: Arshdeep Singh/Avesh Khan/Deepak Chahar/Harshal Patel.
Backup spinners: Axar Patel/Kuldeep Yadav/Ravi Bishnoi.