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Following scores of 75, 45 and 71, Virat Kohli has strengthened his position at the top in the batsmen rankings

Virat Kohli rested, Rohit Sharma to lead India at Asia Cup

India news

Virat Kohli has been rested for the 2018 Asia Cup, starting on 15 September in the United Arab Emirates, and Rohit Sharma will stand in as captain, the Board of Control for Cricket in India confirmed on Saturday, 1 September.

Manish Pandey returned to the side, thanks to his excellent recent form, but the standout name was that of Khaleel Ahmed, the left-arm medium-pacer from Rajasthan, who got his maiden international call-up.

Kedar Jadhav was also included in the 16-man squad, having missed the three-match one-day international series in England, as was Ambati Rayudu.

Suresh Raina missed out, though, along with Umesh Yadav, Siddarth Kaul, and Shreyas Iyer, all of whom were part of the ODI squad in England.

Kohli was rested, possibly with an eye on the Tests against the Windies in October, which start less than a week after the final of the Asia Cup on 28 September. The selectors, however, decided to play others likely to feature in the Tests, including Hardik Pandya, Shikhar Dhawan, Jasprit Bumrah and KL Rahul.

Pandey’s call-up is no surprise. He has been in a rich vein of form, and was the top run-scorer in the recent quadrangular series between India A, India B, Australia A and South Africa A. His 306 runs in four matches, including a 73* in the final, helped his India B side to the title.

Manish Pandey was rewarded for his excellent form in the quadrangular series
Manish Pandey was rewarded for his excellent form in the quadrangular series

Jadhav was also part of the India B side, but his contributions were less spectacular – he totalled 30 runs in four matches, and in his one outing with the ball returned 0/10. However, he proved his fitness in the series, having come back from a hamstring injury that ruled him out of most of the Indian Premier League in April and May, and the tour of England that followed.

Rayudu was another player to make a comeback. He was originally in the squad for the ODIs in England, but was then excluded after failing the Yo-Yo fitness test. However, he cleared the test thereafter, and was part of the India A side in the quadrangular series, scoring 62*, 48, 11 and 66 in his four matches.

Ahmed, 20, has played 17 List A and 12 T20s so far, and was part of the India A side that toured England in June. He was also involved in the quadrangular series, picking up seven wickets in four matches, including a 3/45 against South Africa A.

The Asia Cup is a six-team affair, with India slotted in Group B, along with Pakistan and a qualifier. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are in Group A.

Squad: 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

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