Dubai: The UAE cricket fans will miss Virat Kohli, India’s star batsman and captain, in action during the upcoming Asia Cup to be held in Dubai and Abu Dhabi from September 15-28. The selection committee has rested Kohli due to the heavy workload on him, having played continuous cricket since the Indian Premier League without a break.
Rohit Sharma will lead the 16-man squad, which includes an uncapped Khaleel Ahmad, a 20-year-old left-arm seamer from Rajasthan. Shikhar Dhawan will be the vice-captain.
Meanwhile, India’s arch-rivals Pakistan announced a provisional squad of 18 players, trimming down from the 26 probables announced earlier. The Pakistan selection committee dropped former captain Azhar Ali and recalled Shan Masood and Imad Wasim, who haven’t played for Pakistan for almost an year.
The Indian selection committee recalled Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu and Manish Pandey to the one-day squad. Indian medium-pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was ruled out of the ongoing Test series in England, has fully recovered from his lower back injury after undergoing rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, and has been included in the squad. Shreyas Iyer, Suresh Raina and fast bowlers Siddarth Kaul and Umesh Yadav, who were part of the one-day squad during the England tour, has missed out.
Pandey was rewarded due to his tremendous form in the ‘A’ team quadrangular series during, which he made 306 runs in four innings without being dismissed. Rayudu had missed out on the England tour as he failed the yo-yo fitness test and Jadhav was hit by a hamstring injury during the IPL season but returned to action during the quadrangular series.
India and Pakistan clash on September 19 at the Dubai International stadium and are among the top favourites in the six-nation tournament, with other teams would be Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and a qualifier. The teams will arrive from September 10 except India, who are currently playing a five-Test series in England, which will end only on September 11, four days before the start of the Asia Cup.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka recalled fast bowler Lasith Malinga after an year in limbo and included him in a 16-member squad. The injury-prone 35-year-old had been largely ignored since his last ODI appearance in September last year against India in Colombo when he took just one wicket for 35 runs. Sri Lanka lost the match by six wickets.