Team India will be among the favourites to clinch the Asia Cup T20 event being held in Bangladesh, and they should be really disappointed if they do not end up clinching the title of Asian giants, the last preparation for
Team India will be among the favourites to clinch the Asia Cup T20 event being held in Bangladesh, and they should be really disappointed if they do not end up clinching the title of Asian giants, the last preparation for teams from the subcontinent prior to the World T20, which will be held in India. Of all the teams who will be on display in the Asian showpiece, India have the most balanced side. In addition, they also have the momentum going for them. They kick off the Asia Cup campaign having defeated Sri Lanka at home, which was preceded by the whitewash of Australia in Australia. Their confidence, thus, should be on an all-time high.
There was an embarrassment of sort for India as Mohammed Shami was once again ruled out after being picked. His selection and availability have definitely become matters of concern for the Indian side, but they would look to put that behind and try to multiply the positives in Bangladesh. The impending retirement of MS Dhoni is another question that has become a bone to contention in Indian cricket. The Indian limited overs captain clearly wasn't pleased when another journo threw the same question at him. Having said that, the thought would be lingering in his mind, and he would like to reassure himself with some fine performances.
While India's combination for the World T20 is all but sorted, it would be interesting to see whether Dhoni goes in for experimentation in the Asia Cup, or sticks to his tried and tested formula. Ajinkya Rahane's position is one bone of contention. While the Indian captain is very clear that there is no place for Rahane, in the starting eleven, a lot of cricket pundits believe that he is unlucky, perhaps because he is too versatile for his own good. With Hardik Pandya doing well at number seven, and Virat Kohli back at number three, there is no slot empty for Rahane. But, India will do well to give him a game or two and keep him in the mix, for you never know what destiny has in store.
The series will also be crucial for Yuvraj Singh. He did not get too many chances to bat against Sri Lanka, and if that series is to be taken as a cue, his bowling has certainly fallen away. At number five, Yuvraj may again not get too many chances to bat. But, considering the crucial position that he will be coming in at, Dhoni will have to ensure he gets some willow hits under his belt. It is going to be a tough juggling act, for the experimentation needs to be done while ensuring that the team momentum does not get affected too much. In case, Yuvraj doesn't get among the runs, Rahane could be in as back up, which is why it is crucial that both of them get chances in the Asia Cup.
The Asia Cup will also be crucial for the youngsters in the team who have done well lately. Pacer Jasprit Bumrah is undoubtedly the first name that comes to mind. He has been impressive even since he made his debut in Australia. But, Bumrah must ensure that he carries on the good form. A loss of confidence before the big event is not what India need. The same applies to Pandya, who has had a mixed career thus far. Among other questions that India need to seek an answer to are -- will Harbhajan Singh get a chance? And, how will India utilise Pawan Negi as Ravindra Jadeja is already in the squad? Dhoni has plenty of options without doubt, but he needs to cash in on the same.