Mumbai: Rohit Sharma will lead Indian side as Virat Kohli was rested for the Asia Cup 2018 as the selectors announced squad here on Saturday. While Khaleel Ahmed received his maiden India call-up, Rishabh Pant failed to make a cut as selectors decided to stick with MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik.
— BCCI (@BCCI) September 1, 2018
The MSK Prasad-led selection panel announced the Indian squad for the Asia Cup 2018. The tournament will take place in the United Arab Emirates. While India will play their opening game on September 18, the event kicks off on September 15 with Bangladesh squaring off against Sri Lanka.
The much-awaited India versus Pakistan encounter will take place on September 19.
India skipper Virat Kohli's workload was in focus along with the middle-order slots when the national selection committee picked the squad for the Asia Cup cricket tournament, here on Saturday.
India will be entering the tournament after a gruelling two and half month tour of UK. While Kohli was rested, the other India top stars are set to play arch-rivals Pakistan at least twice or may be thrice if the two teams reach the finals.
However, Kohli has had issues with his back and with another six Test matches lined in the next three months (two vs West Indies and four vs Australia), the selectors were cautious while monitoring Kohli's workload.
However, with Kohli opting out of the tournament, Rohit Sharma will lead the side.
The other concern will be fixing the middle-order woes.
While Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma select themselves, KL Rahul will remain a back-up opener or one-down depending on the team situation.
However, it's the two batting slots after Kohli which are a bone of contention going into the World Cup next year.
Manish Pandey had an indifferent run with the senior team but the Quadrangular series saw him roar back to form. he led India B to the title with 306 runs in four games without being dismissed once.
Ambati Rayudu, who has passed the YoYo test and scored a few runs for India A, and Kedar Jadhav, who is also fit and whose slow off-breaks could be an asset on the UAE tracks, were picked in the squad.
The bowling department will have Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah leading the attack with Shardul Thakur and Khaleel Ahmed replacing Siddarth Kaul and Umesh Yadav, who were a part of India's squad during the England ODI series.
India squad for Asia Cup 2018:
Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Khaleel Ahmed