The Asia Cup T20 is scheduled to begin on August 27th in the UAE.
The political undertone always makes an India-Pakistan clash spicy, and fans often dial it up to a eleven in every possible aspect. The social media banters turn into verbal wars, media houses end up inviting the who’s who of the cricketing world to reminisce their experiences, and every player taking the field knows that defeat will not be taken on the chin by fans on both sides.
Both these giants of subcontinent cricket will lock horns in their respective opening game in Asia Cup 2022 and there are no reasons suggesting a depreciation in this brouhaha. India will be keen to field their best eleven men for this contest, as the wounds of their 10-wicket defeat in the ICC T20 World Cup last year remain fresh.
Here’s a look at the predicted Indian XI for this contest
1. Rohit Sharma (Captain)
Rohit Sharma has a mixed history with Pakistan in these big tournaments. He has experienced success, and some failures too. There’s often a criticism on his shoulders that he doesn’t perform in big games, forgetting the fact that his first major impact knock in international cricket came against the Pakistanis, in the 2007 T20 World Cup final, where he blasted a 16-ball 30.
The way Indian batters approached England in the recently concluded 3-match T20I series, we can sense the intent clearly – they are going all-out from the get-go. Rohit has been successful in doing so on multiple occasions during his career, but he is still better known as a slow-starter who picks up halfway through.
He would be hoping to tackle the new ball a little better this time, and an early dismissal from his side could put the team under pressure. However, you would want to bank on this individual to make a big score in a contest like this.
2. KL Rahul
This position will be under severe scrutiny as KL Rahul‘s T20 game has not been idolized by many, despite the Karnataka batter making so many runs in the IPL over the last five seasons. However, the undeniable ability of this talented cricketer could fetch him a place.
Rahul’s addition solidifies the top order and it’ll be interesting to see if he comes out as a more free-flowing batter. Another option he offers is stability in case of a collapse. He is one of India’s most experienced cricketers right now, and one of the few with multiple centuries in all formats.
It will still be a gamble as he might take up the place of a cricketer who has been in great form lately (could be Rishabh Pant or Dinesh Karthik, ideally the latter). He will not be oblivious to the fact that his playing-eleven position in this format is far from sealed for the big tournament coming up.
3. Virat Kohli
33 runs in the ODIs against England across two innings, not a great outing in T20Is against South Africa shortly before this, it does seem like Virat Kohli is striking the ball well, but the scores aren’t coming. The standards he set are preying on him now, his own brilliance is his big enemy.
Kohli might not be in the best of form, but it’ll take a miraculous and audacious call from the management and selectors to drop him for the T20 World Cup in Australia. Not to forget, he has done exceedingly well in Australia. He has played 11 T20Is in Australia, and scored 451 runs at an average of 64.42, striking at nearly 145.
His numbers in the UAE aren’t very promising, with just 68 runs in 5 knocks at a feeble strike-rate of 100, which includes a half-century (against Pakistan). This will be Kohli’s big chance to reassure fans that he still has it in him.