The Asia Cup 2023 will commence on 30th August 2023 and will be held in Sri Lanka and Pakistan. With nine days left to the start of the tournament, the men in blue announce their squad participating in the Tournament. The Squad features some new names, debuting in the scheme of things. With Rohit Sharma as Captain, Hardik as Vice Captain, and two Middle-Order Batsmen making their comebacks. Here are some key highlights of the squad.
To counter the Middle-order trouble, the Indian selectors have selected two Middle-Order batsmen to make their come-back, KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer in the squads. While Shreyas Iyer got injured in March this year, suffering from a major back injury, Iyer has been out from the team for over Six Months. On the other hand, Rahul injured himself in the Tata IPL 2023, with a fractured knee, Rahul has been recovering and training at the National Cricket Academy. The Inclusion of these two has ensured stability in the middle order. Chief Selector Ajit Agarkar while announcing the team, declared KL Rahul as the first-choice Wicket-Keeper of the team. This puts up a question mark at the place of Ishan Kishan in the playing 11.
Another Major highlight was the inclusion of young, explosive, left-hander, Tilak Varma in the team. The 20-year-old has continued to impress the selectors with his flawless technique and ability to loft at will. His intent and his hunger for scoring runs would help the team to chase down big targets. India’s top order has been exposed to left-arm fast bowling several times. India’s 5-3 in the World Cup 2019 semi-final against Trent Boult, and ICC Champions Trophy 2017 33-3 against Mohd Amir have been some instances. With the inclusion of a Left-Hander in Top-order India would be able to counter the Left-Arm Pace from the Likes of Shaheen Afridi and Mustafizur Rahman.
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With Tilak, Rahul, and Iyer’s inclusion in the team, many quality players were also ignored by the Management. Shikhar Dhawan is one of the best players that India has ever produced when it comes to Multi-Nation Tournaments. The elegant left-handed opener had opened the batting for India for almost a decade. The experience and numbers that Dhawan brings to the table are unquestionable. The lack of form in the past games has led to his exclusion from the team. Another experienced candidate that is left behind is Bhuveneshwar Kumar. The 33-year-old has led the Pace Department of the team for a long time. He has been in and out of the team, but his ability to swing the ball both ways has made him a legend of pace bowling. With the inclusion of Siraj and Krishna, the selectors have shown interest in the youngsters instead of the prodigy. These might mark the end of the careers of the two Experienced Campaigners S. Dhawan and B. Kumar.
The exclusion of Yuzvendra Chahal will also be a shock for many viewers and fans. Chahal has never disappointed in the Longer format. Despite an exceptional record in the subcontinent, Yuzi Chahal is replaced by Axar Patel. Axar Patel may prove to be a better choice than the leg-spinner as Axar provides depth in the batting of the team along with a handy left-arm spin. As Ishan gets a chance in the Squad, Sanju Samson still gets ignored by the selectors. Kept in Reserved, Sanju deserved to be in the squad with the talent he possesses.
An ideal playing 11 for the Indian Team may be Rohit to open along with Shubhman Gill. The opening duo may provide the team with an explosive and solid start. With Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, and KL Rahul stabilizing the Middle-Order and Rahul also playing the role of Wicket-keeper. The team would go with Hardik and Jadeja being the two all-rounders. Jadeja with Axar or Kuldeep will be the two Spinners. The pace battery would include Shami, Bumrah, and Siraj. The team could play all three spinners in place of one of the fast bowlers according to the conditions.
SQUAD: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna
Reserve: Sanju Samson