28 August 2022. Book your dates. Because on the last Sunday of this month, arch-rivals India and Pakistan will meet on the cricket field in the Asia Cup 2022 encounter.
This will be the first clash between the two Asian giants after nine months since Pakistan’s 10-wicket win in the T20 World Cup last year. The venue, once again, will be Dubai.
India are the defending Asia Cup winners having won the trophy in 2018 under Rohit Sharma’s captaincy. Then, Sharma was the stand-in Indian skipper when Virat Kohli was rested; now, though, he’s India’s full-time captain and the Men In Blue will look to assert their dominance on Asia once again in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup in Australia in October.
Although the 2018 Asia Cup was in ODI format and this one is in T20 format, many Indian players from the side that faced Pakistan – both teams clashed twice in 2018 – are there in the current T20 team.
However, there will be four Indian players who played vs Pakistan in 2018 but are not part of the team for Asia Cup 2022:
Shikhar Dhawan scored 114* and 46 in the two matches vs Pakistan in the 2018 Asia Cup. Dhawan was the Man of the Series for scoring 342 runs with two centuries.
This time, however, the left-hander won’t be part of the squad as he was dropped from India’s T20 team last year as the management preferred the likes of Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson and Ruturaj Gaikwad as the back-up openers to Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.
MS Dhoni didn’t get a chance to bat in any of the two matches against Pakistan in 2018 as the top-order completed both the run-chases. Dhoni played his last game for India in the 2019 World Cup semi-final vs New Zealand and retired in 2020.
Kedar Jadhav also didn’t get to bat vs Pakistan then. He scored a total of 70 runs in 3 innings in that tournament, including a crucial 23* in the final vs Bangladesh, while being dismissed only once. Jadhav last donned India’s jersey in February 2020 and his dismal form and age led to his exclusion. He hasn’t been in the T20 team’s scheme of things since 2017.
Ambati Rayudu had a decent Asia Cup 2018, finishing with 175 runs at an average of 43 including a couple of fifties. He scored 12* and 31* in the two run-chases vs Pakistan.
Although his last T20I came in 2016, Rayudu seemingly was a key member of the ODI side in the lead-up to the 2019 WC.
However, after one bad series – vs Australia – he was discarded by the selectors for “3-dimensional” Vijay Shankar. And when Dhawan and Shankar were injured in the tournament, the selectors sent Rishabh Pant and Mayank Agarwal as replacements but not Rayudu which led to Rayudu announcing his international retirement.