Jasprit Bumrah has been ruled out of the Asia Cup as he is still nursing a back injury. Image Credit: Courtesy: BCCI

Dubai: Jasprit Bumrah has been ruled of the Indian squad for the Asia Cup while Virat Kohli and KL Rahul have returned to Twenty20 continental championship to be held in the UAE.

“Bumrah and Harshal Patel were not available for selection owing to injuries. They are currently undergoing rehab at the NCA in Bengaluru,” said a statement from the Indian cricket board on Monday.

Time to find his rhythm

It is learnt that the board didn’t want to risk Bumrah, who missed the West Indies series, and give enough time for the veteran pacer to recover from back injury and be fit for the Twenty20 World Cup to be held in Australia in October-November. However, the yorker specialist is expected to return for the home series against Australia and South Africa in September-October, that will give enough time for Bumrah to find his rhythm.

SPO VIRAT AND K L RAHUL-1659975249917
Virat Kohli and KL Rahul will be eager to get into the groove sooner after missing the action for varied reasons. Image Credit: Courtesy: BCCI

“Bumrah is our main bowler and we would like him to be back in action before the T20 World Cup. We can’t risk him in the Asia Cup and the injury could aggravate,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on the condition of anonymity before the team announcement was made on Monday.

Another Twenty20 specialist Harshal will also be missed as he is still nursing a sidestrain and has not played any of the five Twenty20 matches against the West Indies, despite being part of the Indian team.

Spin heavy team

However, the high-flying Indian team have problem of plenty in the bowling department and it will also provide another opportunity for rookies Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan to impress the selectors and strengthen their claim for a World Cup slot after showcasing their talent in West Indies, where India decimated the hosts.

The Men In Blue, knowing the UAE conditions where the spinners will play a big role, have selected four spinners — Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi and Ravichandran Ashwin — with veteran pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar leading the pace attack that lacks the experience.

All eyes will be on star batter Kohli, who is aiming to end his extended bad form and prove that he still has plenty to offer, while Rahul, who has had a prolonged break due to a groin injury and a subsequent surgery in Germany and followed by Covid, returns to the team as the vice-captain of the squad.

The 15th edition of Asia Cup will be played in the UAE between six teams (main event). Defending champions India are also the most successful team, having won the trophy seven times. While the last edition of the tournament was held in an ODI format, this edition will feature the T20 format.

The six teams are divided into two groups with India, Pakistan and a qualifying team in Group A and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan forming Group B. Each team plays the other once in the group stage with the top two teams from each group advancing to the Super 4 round. The top 2 teams from Super 4 will qualify for the final.

The tournament, which serves as preparation for the Asian sides in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup later this year, was shifted to the UAE last month due to the political and economic crisis in Sri Lanka, who retain the hosts' honour.

The squad:

Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wk), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan.

Standbys: Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel and Deepak Chahar.