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K. R. NAYAR COLUMN: Kohli should have been paced out to play in the Asia Cup

Proper planning of his workload would have helped Indian skipper play in UAE

Image Credit: Reuters
Virat Kohli
Gulf News

Virat Kohli should have been paced out to play in the Asia Cup.

It may sound ridiculous in the present context to demand that Kohli should be playing in this tournament as he has been playing without a break since the Indian Premier League.

Had the playing schedule been planned with a bit more sensibility, then Kohli could have been seen in action in UAE without too much of a workload on him.

It is a given that Kohli is the most valuable player of the Indian squad, and as captain he will figure in all matches and hence bound to get tired.

Today, anyone who enjoys cricket around the world looks forward to see him in action.

India is using Kohli’s services for the ongoing Test series against England. The Indian selectors will also want him for the oncoming series against West Indies and the tour to Australia with the hope of winning both the series. Shouldn’t they have the same attitude towards Asia Cup too?

India’s England tour ends just four days before the Asia Cup. Their Test team will again be in action from October 4, less than a week after the Asia Cup final.

While the ongoing England tour is important, some adjustments should have been made so that Kohli gets to play in the Asia Cup too without pushing him to a stage of exhaustion.

It is unfortunate that Asia Cup has often not been given the kind of importance it deserves. This tournament could well be considered a mini World Cup! Asian countries, without doubt, have the highest number of cricket fans. Television viewership will be higher than an India-West Indies series because Asia Cup is played between cricket crazy nations like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.

The last edition of Asia Cup was even held in a Twenty20 format.

No country would have rested their top player for a World Cup citing excess of workload. Countries ensure their star players are in top form and absolutely fit to give their best in the World Cup. The same attitude is not exhibited when it comes to participation in Asia Cup. This tournament will be hosting its 14th edition and whichever nation emerges champion will become part of history.

The tournament is also significant as arch rivals India and Pakistan clash in this event and that match is expected to have huge viewership from around the world.

These two nations will be clashing in UAE after a gap of 12 years, and all fans would want both teams to be at their full strength. It’s time every Asian nation considers Asia Cup as their top tournament and plays in it with pride.