3DMODI1405

Key takeaways from India's squad for the Asia Cup

Feature

By Karan Sen

Hit For Six!
-

India have named a strong 15-player squad for the 2022 Asia Cup, a tournament which will be vital in lead up to the 2022 ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Australia.

The squad marks the return of many big guns to the Indian setup, after the rotation that was witnessed during the tour of West Indies and the upcoming ODI series against Zimbabwe.

India will get their Asia Cup campaign underway against arch-rivals Pakistan on August 28 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. 

The tournament will be of vital importance for Rohit Sharma and Co, as they will amp up the preparation for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Australia later this year, with a near full-strength side.

The selections give a clear indication of the Indian strategy for the showpiece event Down Under, with the squad for the tournament likely to closely resemble the one picked for the Asia Cup, with the addition of the injured Jasprit Bumrah and barring any last-minute injuries. 

India tour of Zimbabwe

Live and FREE: Watch Zimbabwe v India ODI 3 on ICC.tv

Here, we take a look at the key takeaways from the 15-member squad named by Indian selectors: 

Valuable match practice for Kohli, Rahul

The Asia Cup will be a major opportunity for two of India's key batters – Virat Kohli and KL Rahul – to spend some invaluable time in the middle.

There have been a lot of discussions around Kohli's recent form, with many questioning his place in the Indian T20I setup. A good performance in the Asia Cup will put this discourse to rest. Kohli has also been short of match practice in the T20I format, with sporadic appearances since the 2021 T20 World Cup. Since the tournament in UAE and Oman, Kohli has only played four T20Is – two against West Indies at home and two against England away. 

Video cwc19 20 Jul 22
India’s Virat Kohli dilemma | The ICC Review

The squad also marks the return of KL Rahul, who has been out of action since the IPL. The opener underwent a sports hernia surgery and was set to return during the T20I series against West Indies. But a positive COVID-19 test further delayed his return. 

The Asia Cup will provide a golden opportunity for two of India's batting stalwarts to regain their groove. 

Video cwc19 05 Nov 21
KL Rahul races to 50 in 18 balls

Lack of pacers

In the injury absence of pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and T20I specialist Harshal Patel, India have decided to head into the Asia Cup with only three frontline pacers.

Veteran Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be backed by youngsters Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan in the pace unit. Kumar has regained his mojo in the recent T20I series, swinging the ball up front while also bowling some crucial overs at the death. 

Video cwc19 30 Jun 22
Go behind the scenes of Jasprit Bumrah’s appointment as Test captain | The ICC Review

Arshdeep has impressed one and all with his temperament, as well as his abilities to bowl yorkers at will during the final overs. Khan's performances have been inconsistent, but Indian team management clearly trust his abilities to act as the enforcer of the pace attack. 

The trio will be backed by all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has recently proved his fitness and has been bowling at full tilt. 

In Bumrah's absence, will selecting only three pacers turn out to be a wise call by the selectors for the Asia Cup in UAE? Only time will tell. 

Video cwc19 22 Jun 21
Jasprit Bumrah: India’s smiling assassin | WTC21 Final | Ind v NZ

India opt to go spin-heavy 

With only three frontline pacers in the squad, India have opted to rely heavily on their spinners during the tournament. There is a nice variety of tweakers in the squad, with leg-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravi Bishnoi backed by wily veteran Ravichandran Ashwin and left-armer Ravindra Jadeja. 

Jadeja and Ashwin will also add act as all-rounders, with both being more than handy with the bat down the order. With four spinners in the squad, Indian team management clearly believe pitches in UAE will assist the spinners, and skipper Rohit Sharma will heavily lean on them to act as both attacking, as well as containing options. 

Video cwc19 20 Jun 21
Ravichandran Ashwin: Living outside the comfort zone

The selections also give a clear picture of the hierarchy in the Indian spin department, with all-rounder Axar Patel, as well as left-armer Kuldeep Yadav seemingly behind in the pecking order.

Axar, could only find a place in the reserves despite his impressive performance both with the bat and that ball in recent times, with India backing the experience of Jadeja over him. 

Video cwc19 06 Dec 20
Ravindra Jadeja: The best fielder in the world?
A compilation of some of Ravindra Jadeja's most outrageous antics in the field

Final opportunity for youngsters to stake their claim

Despite the return of some big names, the Indian squad for the Asia Cup also features some exciting youngsters. For the likes of Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan, Arshdeep Singh and Deepak Hooda, the tournament will be a chance to prove their mettle on the big stage and book their tickets for the flight to Australia. 

All four youngsters have made an impact in the shortest format, after making their debuts post the debacle at the 2021 T20 World Cup. 

Ravi Bishnoi has impressed with his guile and variations, scalping 15 wickets in nine matches at an economy of 7.15 in the shortest format. His mastery of the googly, in particular, has left many batters bamboozled. 

Video U19CWC 28 Jan 22
Ravi Bishnoi: Every wicket from the 2020 U19 World Cup

Arshdeep Singh made his debut during the tour of England, and in a short career of six matches, has left a mark with his cool demeanour. He has picked up 15 wickets, going at an economy of 6.33, nailing some searing yorkers. 

Avesh Khan's ability to extract pace and bounce has seen him being given an opportunity during the Asia Cup, which will allow him to stake another claim for a place in the World Cup squad. He has picked up 11 wickets from 13 matches, going at an economy rate of 8.67. 

Video cwc19 09 Jun 22
Ricky Ponting on Rishabh Pant's best batting position | The ICC Review

Finally, Deepak Hooda's aggressive intent and versatility has seen him beat off competition from Shreyas Iyer. The 27-year-old has played nine T20Is, scoring 274 runs at an average of 54.80 and a brilliant strike rate of 161.17, with one memorable century against Ireland. His handy off-spinners have also worked in his favour and will give the team an additional bowling option. 

A good Asia Cup and many of these youngsters could well be pencilled in selections for the World Cup in Australia. 

THIS IS THE BIG TIME!

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is coming to Australia from 16 October to 13 November 2022.

More News