Asia Cup 2022: Kohli back in scheme of things; Chance for Hooda, Bishnoi, Arshdeep to cement spots
Asia Cup 2022: Virat Kohli, KL Rahul back with Team India; Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Axar Patel on standby. Jasprit Bumrah, Harshal Patel injured out. Ishan Kishan dropped.
The national selectors have declared India’s squad for Asia Cup 2022 to be played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from August 27 to September 11, by which date they will have to announce the provisional squad for October’s ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia.
Most of the faces included in India’s squad are known names as captain Rohit Sharma with head coach Rahul Dravid look forward to defend the title. Former captain Virat Kohli, along with regular opener KL Rahul, who has played just two games for India in this format since the last World Cup have returned into the team.
Jasprit Bumrah, Harshal Patel and 14th ranked T20I batter Ishan Kishan miss out from the Asia Cup squad. Bumrah is out of the championship due to a back injury while Patel is racing against time to be fit for the world cup. Why has Ishan Kishan been left out is something which only the selectors could explain as the batter is placed higher than Rohit Sharma (16th) and KL Rahul (20th) in the ICC Men’s T20I batter rankings; only Suryakumar Yadav (2nd) is placed higher than Kishan amongst India’s batters in the coveted rankings.
India’s squad for Asia Cup 2022
Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan
Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Axar Patel
Read More: WI vs Ind, T20Is, 2022: Mixed Bag of Experiments - Surya, Arshdeep shine; Shreyas, Avesh disappoint
Let’s look at how India’s line-up is shaped with an analysis of their top-order batting, middle-order hitting, spin and seam department respectively.
Rohit-Rahul-Kohli-SKY - An aggressive top-order to begin with
Since India’s exit from the group stage of the last world cup, they have changed their approach in the first six overs. India’s most prolific opener, KL Rahul, for the last half decade has done wonders both in T20I and Indian Premier League (IPL) and there was little doubt over his place if he is match fit.
He will partner captain Rohit Sharma under whom India have changed their template of batting in the powerplay. From July 2019 to the time before World T20 2021, India scored at a run rate of 8.04 with a boundary percentage of 17.7 in the powerplay. Since the end of the mega-event, aggressive India have raised themselves to collect runs at a rate of 8.82 with a higher boundary percentage of 22.4.
Rohit who scored 108 runs in four innings against West Indies, has a strike rate of 147.8 in the powerplay in T20Is in 2022 which is the best strike rate for T20I openers in the powerplay this year with a cut-off of 10 innings.
In an ideal world, Virat Kohli should find himself at number three given his stature. Even though he hasn’t had a great time in the middle, his recent numbers in this format are still respectable. The former captain, who featured in four T20Is in 2022, has got out playing uncharacteristic shots in most games but his game against spin in the middle overs on the slow pitches of UAE is going to be vital.
There shouldn’t be any question on the spot of Suryakumar Yadav. The number two-ranked T20I batter has topped the West Indies series with 135 runs in four innings. Even though India have used him at the opening slot, that’s only to make him comfortable with the opening spot if India lose two-three quick wickets at the top during the World Cup.
Read More: WI vs Ind, T20Is, 2022: Last-minute experiment in opening slot as India gear up for World T20 2022
Pant-Hardik-Jadeja - A balanced middle-order for India
Rishabh Pant has been India’s best batter in Tests and ODIs across the last two years. That’s why in spite of recent failures, he has been backed by the team management for a longer rope. On any given day, Pant with his destructive ability can tear any bowling attack.
India will ideally want Pant to play at his IPL 2022 strike rate where the Delhi boy smashed at a rate of 152 in the middle-order. During the recent England T20Is, he was tried in the opening position but with the return of Rahul at the top, Pant will manage the middle-order. The fact that he is the only left-hander in the top five should keep him ahead of Dinesh Karthik.
With the comeback of KL Rahul and Virat Kohli, unfortunately, Karthik may be warming the bench. However, India may look to place him in the team in some odd game to test the balance of the side. c
Hardik Pandya, who can now give India at least three to four overs in the middle overs, is going to play a vital role in the team. He will be well supported by another left-hander Ravindra Jadeja in the side. Jadeja’s bowling seems to be a bit of a concern while he has raised his bar in the batting, not to mention about his fielding.
If they feel, Deepak Hooda too can come to the side at number seven offering his two-three overs of off spin besides having the ability of going for some huge shots.
Read More: India’s batters struggle against left-arm pacers; Will more left-arm seam options in team help?
Bhuvi, Arshdeep, Chahal, Avesh - India’s bowling looks solid
The last few months have been excellent for Bhuvneshwar Kumar with the new ball in hand taking wickets in the powerplay besides coming and drying the run flow in the death overs. Though he didn’t bowl a lot in the West Indies series, he picked up four wickets in the away England series at an average of just 6.25.
The rise of Arshdeep Singh is going to be beneficial for India. The left-arm pacer, who won the player of the series against West Indies for taking seven wickets at an average of 16.14, has shown valuable skills in bowling proficiently in the death overs. He has bowled more than 40 per cent dot balls from the overs between 16-20 in T20Is.
Yuzvendra Chahal will be the prime weapon for India in the spin department. The leg-spinner, who was left out of the world cup squad in UAE last year, scalped four wickets in two games at an average of 10.50 against England. The numbers tell that no Pakistan batter has a strike rate of 130 against spin in recent years; this can be explored by the Haryana leg-spinner in India’s game against their arch-rivals in the Asia Cup.
There will be a shuffle for the eleventh player. On a track, where the pacers are expected to get assistance, India might be tempted to go with Avesh Khan, who after two nightmarish T20Is made an excellent comeback in the fifth T20I against the West Indies with figures of 3/15 in three overs including a maiden.
However, on big grounds or against a team which has more left-handers, India might like to prefer Ravichandran Ashwin in the side or Ravi Bishnoi, who in the recent West Indies T20I series picked up eight wickets at an average of 8.62. So, the base of the team is absolutely covered with flexibility at different positions.