Asia Cup 2022: India’s Best XI For The Match Against Pakistan

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The Asia Cup 2022 is set to kick off on August 27 in the UAE with Sri Lanka, the designated hosts, taking on Afghanistan in the tournament opener.

Rohit Sharma’s Indian team will begin their title defence, having won the tournament in 2018, on August 28 in Dubai against arch-rivals Pakistan, which will also be the first meeting between the two sides since Babar Azam’s side thrashed the Men In Blue by 10 wickets at the T20 World Cup last year.

The BCCI announced India’s 15-man squad for the Asia Cup on Monday.

India’s squad for Asia Cup 2022:

Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan

Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel and Deepak Chahar have been named as standbys

Virat Kohli and KL Rahul returned to the squad, which meant Shreyas Iyer was pushed into the reserves, and Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan were excluded. Big blows to India are in the form of injuries to Bumrah and Harshal, which paved the way for Arshdeep, Avesh, Ashwin and Bishnoi to be in the squad.

Today, we try to see what is the best possible combination for the Indian team for their first match in the tournament, against Pakistan.

Openers: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul 

KL Rahul hasn’t played a single T20I for India this year, due to rest and injuries and covid. But he will slot at this opening position straightaway to partner skipper Rohit Sharma, who has found back his form on the England and West Indies tour.

Their first challenge will be to face Shaheen Afridi and banish the ghosts of their previous meeting in the T20 WC.

Middle-order: Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant (wk), Suryakumar Yadav

Virat Kohli, who will return after a break of more than a month, is likely to take back his number 3 spot. Kohli is unartugably India’s most out-of-form batsman in this squad, but his class, experience and abilities – in addition to this break – is what everyone is banking on for him to come good once agian for his national side.

On the other end, Suryakumar Yadav is unarguably India’s most in-form batsman at the moment and it would be incredibly surprising if he is left out of the eleven for any reason barring injury.

Rishabh Pant has got the managmenet’s backing and is likely to be picked ahead of Dinesh Karthik. Not only Pant has been a destruction force against leg-spinners and left-arm orthodox in recent times, he also is the only left-hander in the top-six. It remains to be seen whether India continue Pant at four and push SKY at 5.

All-rounders: Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja

Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja pick themselves as all-rounders in the first-choic eleven, though Jadeja is now facing pressure from Axar Patel. In the UAE conditions, Jadeja is likely to make the most of his opportunities.

If Dinesh Karthik is not selected in the eleven, the onus will on these two to give India a strong finish against the likes of Shaheen and Haris Rauf.

Asia Cup 2022: India’s Best XI For The Match Against Pakistan

Spinners: R Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal

Yuzvendra Chahal is India’s premier leg-spinner currently and will be a key for their chances to win Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup.

To partner Chahal and Jadeja could well be Ashwin, at least in the Asia Cup, is not at the T20 WC. Ashwin has been in brilliant form since his return to the side last year in the World Cup: 12 wickets in 8 games going at under a run-a-ball (5.78). Ashwin has also improved his batting hitting as evident in the IPL 2022 for RR.

With two left-handers in Pakistan’s eleven – Fakhar and Khushdil – Ashwin will be key in the middle-overs.

Asia Cup 2022: India’s Best XI For The Match Against Pakistan

Pacers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh

With Hardik Pandya now bowling brilliantly and even on occasions giving his quota of 4 overs, India are expected to play only two other pacers in the Asia Cup: Bhuvneshwar walks in the eleven, while Arshdeep, who has been excellent for the Indian team since his debut, and before that for Punjab Kings, is likely to be preferred over Avesh in the eleven.

Fans will be expecting Bhuvneshwar to nip out Pakistan’s openers, and their two best batters, Babar and Rizwan, early on in the innings.

India’s best predicted XI vs Pakistan:

Rohit Sharma (C), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh

Also, if India feel they must play Dinesh Karthik in the finisher’s role, then he could slot in for Pant and Jadeja could be promoted up in the order to break the chain of right-handers.

Pakistan’s squad for Asia Cup: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vc), Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir

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