The Rohit Sharma led Indian cricket team is all set to kickstart their Asia Cup 2022 campaign at the Dubai International Stadium where they take on arch-rivals Pakistan on 28th August. Both teams will renew their rivalry after nearly a year when they square off at the same venue in 2021. The Men in Green recorded an emphatic 10-wicket victory over India in that clash at the ICC T20 World Cup.
Pakistan and India will head into the game without their premium pacers with the Men in Blue missing the services of Jasprit Bumrah and Pakistan unable to call up Shaheen Afridi due to injuries. Rahul Dravid and co will also see Harshal Patel not play in the 6-nation tournament.
Despite missing 2 of the biggest bowlers, India has a plethora of talent available at their disposal for the Asia Cup. The 15-member Indian squad consists of various picks while many top talents were excluded for the tournament as well.
With the Men in Blue looking to sort out their strong XI ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup, they are expected to field players who will likely make it to the squad traveling to Australia later this year. Let’s look at a few players who might end up warming the bench at Asia Cup 2022.
The emerging pacer has been a constant feature in the Indian team for the last few series. He has been aiming to make a mark and consistently feature for the Men in Blue in the recent past. Injuries to Bumrah and Harshal Patel, and the exclusion of Mohammed Shami favored his cause, earning him a spot in the Indian team at the Asia Cup.
Khan would be hoping to find a place in the playing XI at the Asia Cup. However, the Men in Blue already have 2 established players in Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh. The duo has been in great form and are not likely to be dropped from the team. Citing the wickets in UAE, India might field two pacers with Hardik Pandya also expected to bowl a full quota, resulting in Avesh Khan warming the bench at the 6-nation tournament.
The youngster has made most of the opportunities he has received to represent the country in white-ball cricket this year. Despite making it in the final 15 for the Asia Cup squad, the emerging leggie might not get a chance to play in the prestigious tournament. The Indian team management will likely opt for seasoned spinners at the Asia Cup with the Men in Blue having 3 quality spinners in the ranks that have experience of playing on the wickets in UAE.
The team management might not risk playing Bishnoi while boasting the likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Yuzvendra Chahal alongside Ravichandran Ashwin in the team. Such cut-throat competition would cut down the leggie’s chances to feature in India’s playing XI at the T20 tournament.
The veteran spinner has been seen as more or Test specialist by the Indian think tank in the last few years. Ashwin, has rarely played for the Men in Blue in the shortest format of the game, and is not a guaranteed starter. Rahul Dravid and co could also opt to use someone like Deepak Hooda over the 35 year old with the Rohtak based cricketer’s all-round bowling helping him feature at Asia Cup 2022.
Hooda has also been performing consistently with India’s registering 17 successive victories when Hooda has played. It could result in Ashwin warming the bench with the Indian team think tank unlikely to play him and Jadeja together in the shortest format of the game.
Smit is a sports writer at Gutshot Magazine. After completing his Bachelor’s in Mass Media, and a Master’s degree in Sports Management, this sports fanatic uses articles as a tool to express his opinions. Bring up cricket or football and you will find this usually quiet guy speak for hours! He also co-heads the official supporters club of Chelsea FC in Mumbai, wherein he hosts screenings, football meets and other such events.