BCCI, on Monday (8 August), announced India’s squad for the Asia Cup 2022, which is scheduled to get underway on the 27th of August. The event will be played in UAE between six teams in the T20 format, unlike the last edition in 2018 which was played in the ODI format.
While the likes of KL Rahul and Virat Kohli made a return, the veteran pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel missed out on the squad owing to injuries. Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson were left out due to strategic decisions.
India will kick off their campaign by facing their arch-rival Pakistan on 28th August at the Dubai International Stadium. The Men in Blue will be eyeing revenge for their humiliation faced against the same opposition in the T20 World Cup 2021.
Here we take a look at the best possible XI that India might field against Pakistan in Asia Cup 2022:
Openers: Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul
There is no debate that captain Rohit Sharma will be in charge of the opening duty for India. The veteran batter looked in good touch against West Indies in the T20I series. He scored 108 runs in four innings with an average of 36 and a strike-rate of 163.64. India would be hoping for him to continue his good rhyme as he can win games single-handedly.
Vice-captain KL Rahul has been India’s first-choice opener in T20Is for some years now. He was named in the T20I squad against West Indies but ruled out after he was tested Covid positive. However, he had a great IPL season in 2022 as he amassed 616 runs at an average of 51.33 and a strike-rate of 135.38. Therefore, he is likely to get the go-ahead to form the opening pair alongside Rohit Sharma.
Middle-Order: Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant
The run-machine Virat Kohli has been struggling to find form with the bat for quite some time now. He was a no-brainer pick but the situation has changed in the recent past. Many questions and debates have been raised about his position in the team as he is failing to deliver up to the expectations. However, with the amount of experience he holds, he is likely to retain his natural position. It could be just a matter of a few innings before he starts his domination with the bat again.
It would not be a stretch to say that Suryakumar Yadav has already proved his worth on the international circuit. He holds the special ability to bat at any given position under any circumstance. The best part of his game is there is no concrete weakness for the bowlers to exploit as he smashes all around the park. India would like to utilize his dynamic gameplay to build a game for themselves.
Well, the wicketkeeper position is a tricky one as the two contestants are Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik. It would be a dilemma for the management to choose between the two. But if recent form is taken into the consideration, Pant might get the go-ahead of Karthik, who has somewhat failed to carry on his IPL 2022 form. Pant, being a left-handed batter, can also add a slight advantage against certain bowlers.
All-Rounders: Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja
Needless to say that Hardik Pandya is an automatic pick in the playing XI. The Baroda all-rounder has revived his international career and has been in top shape in the recent series.
Even though Axar Patel has done a phenomenal job for India in the recent games, Ravindra Jadeja is likely to be the second all-rounder in the team alongside Hardik Pandya. He has become a reliable cricketer in recent years for both India and CSK. He can finish the games, pick wickets with the ball or change the course of the game with a piece of brilliant fielding.
Bowlers: Ravi Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh and Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Ravi Ashwin’s cricketing career has been nothing sort of a roller-coaster. Every time he is given a chance, he comes out and performs with all his heart out. The veteran was selected for the T20I series against West Indies, where he managed to pick up three wickets in three games with an impressive economy of 6.67. His ability to mount pressure on the opposition would help other bowlers to get the rewards.
Yuzvendra Chahal is the leading spinner for India in white-ball cricket and his selection is unquestionable. He also won the Purple Cap in IPL 2022, with 27 wickets under his hat in just 17 games including a hat-trick. Chahal formed a lethal spinning pair for Rajasthan Royal alongside Ravi Ashwin in IPL 2022. The management would be keen to reunite both the spinners for India.
The young pacer, Arshdeep Singh, earned India’s maiden call after performing well for a couple of seasons in the IPL for Punjab Kings. Right from the beginning, the left-handed pacer has managed to impress the management with his skills. In his short T20I career of six games, he has managed to pick up nine wickets with an economy of just 6.34. With Jasprit Bumrah missing out on the event, Arshdeep is likely to be given the death-over duty as he has been fulfilling the same for his IPL team effectively.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is one of the greatest T20I bowlers from India and his numbers speak for himself. However, he has not been very lucky in terms of fitness. His regular injury issues have kept him out of the team for a long time. But recently he made a comeback after recovering from the injury. He has been picking regular wickets for his side, especially with the new ball. He is likely to lead the pace attack in absence of Bumrah for sure.