The Board of Control for Cricket in India announced a 15-member Indian squad for the upcoming Asia Cup 2022 tournament. It begins on August 27 with Sri Lanka taking on Afghanistan. Team India is in Group A along with Pakistan and one more team from the qualifiers. They will take the arch-rivals, Pakistan to kick off their campaign in the Asia Cup 2022 on August 28 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Rohit Sharma will be leading the Indian team, while KL Rahul who was out of action for several weeks will be his deputy. Veteran batter Virat Kohli will also make a comeback to the Indian team after an extended break from the sport. Meanwhile, Team India will be without the services of their lead pacer Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel. The duo was not available for selection owing to injuries.
With the ICC T20 World Cup in sight, India will be keen to address all their concerns and find their best XI for the tournament. On that note, let’s take a look at India’s predicted playing XI for the opening clash against Pakistan.
India’s predicted playing XI for the Asia Cup 2022 match against Pakistan
Openers: Rohit Sharma (C) and KL Rahul
Team India has been experimenting with their opening combination in the last few matches in T20Is. However, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul are most likely to be the openers for the Asia Cup 2022 tournament. Rohit had a decent outing in the T20I series against West Indies. He scored 108 runs in four matches, at an average of 36.
On the other hand, KL Rahul has been out of action for several weeks. He underwent sports hernia surgery and was under rehabilitation at the NCA. The right-handed batter was supposed to feature in the West Indies series, however, he tested positive for the covid-19 virus. KL Rahul will be desperate to get back on the field and make an impact on the team straight away. The opening duo will be key for India, keeping in mind their new aggressive batting approach.
Middle Order: Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, and Rishabh Pant (wk)
Virat Kohli hasn’t been in the best of forms off late with the bat. It has raised quite a few questions about his place in the Indian team. Amid his poor form, the former Indian captain was rested for the West Indies and will also miss the Zimbabwe ODI series. He will be keen to prove himself again during the Asia Cup 2022.
Along with him, Suryakumar Yadav will bat in the middle order for India. The right-handed batter has been in good touch so far for India this year. He was the leading run-scorer in the five-match T20I series against West Indies, scoring 135 runs at an average of 33.75.
Meanwhile, Rishabh Pant will take up the wicket-keeping duties for India. Surprisingly, the left-handed batter has not been able to make much of an impact in T20Is for India compared to other formats. However, he had a decent series against West Indies, scoring 115 runs in four matches. Team India will be hoping that Rishabh Pant gets in his groove during the Asia Cup 2022 tournament.
All-rounders: Hardik Pandya, Deepak Hooda, and Ravindra Jadeja
All-rounders Hardik Pandya, Deepak Hooda, and Ravindra Jadeja will play an important role for India in the Asia Cup 2022 tournament. Hardik Pandya and Deepak Hooda have been in great form for India off late. Deepak has impressed everyone in his short T20I career so far and has earned a place in the team.
Similarly, Hardik Pandya has also proved his all-around brilliance. He has also emerged as a strong leader for India. Meanwhile, Ravindra Jadeja will be looking to put forward his best in the Asia Cup. So far this year, he has been good with the bat, playing at a strike rate of 146.90, and has also picked four wickets in seven matches.
Bowlers: Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Team India has been dealt with a massive blow as Jasprit Bumrah will be missing the Asia Cup 2022 due to an injury. Along with him, Harshal Patel will also be not available. In their absence, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh will form India’s pace bowling attack. The duo has been very impressive for India so far in T20Is this year.
Meanwhile, Yuzvendra Chahal is likely to be the lone specialist spinner for India in the playing XI. He has picked 15 wickets in 12 matches this year, at an average of 18.13 and an economy rate of 7.12.