India are ready to start their Asia Cup journey tomorrow when they take on Hong Kong at Dubai International Stadium. With Virat Kohli being rested for the tournament, Rohit Sharma leads the national side.
The recent form of Indian cricket team is not one to be proud of. They were beaten in the recent three match ODI series, 2-1, in England by the hosts. But their form in subcontinental conditions is a dominant one. India now boast of having one of the top bowling line ups in world cricket. The likes of Bhuvaneswar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have consistently brought success for the side. Apart from sheer ruthlessness, there is nothing more one can expect of the Indian bowling side.
Not many times we can say this about the Indian Cricket Team, but the recent performances are a proof that it has been the batting that has let India down. And with the number one batsman in ODIs, Virat Kohli, given a rest, there comes even more pressure on the Indian batsmen to prove that Indian batting is not over dependent on a single man.
The number 4 slot in the batting line up has been a concern for the Indian team. The coaching staff have already tried out many players (Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jhadav to name a few), but no one has been consistent to cement their spot in the team. In a recent interview, ex Indian pace bowler Zaheer Khan has urged the Indian team to try MS Dhoni at the number 4 position in batting. And this idea has been even widely accepted by a huge number of fans too. India need an experienced and calm head in their middle order and there is no better person than MSD who suits this criteria. And with the World Cup less than a year away, it’s time the management gets the batting order right.
Indian selectors and Rohit Sharma will have a tough time to choose one player between Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik. Kedar Jadhav is expected to return back to side after being out for few months with an injury he sustained in the first match of IPL 2018.
Erstwhile Hong Kong had the worst possible start to their campaign after they were comprehensively beaten by Pakistan on Sunday. The minnows could only manage to put 126 runs on the board and were all out inside 37 overs. Pakistan didn’t have to break a sweat in their chase and comfortably achieved the score in 23.4 overs with 8 wickets still remaining. Not many had hopes of an upset but to see Hong Kong go down without a fight was disheartening. However no changes are expected to be made in their team for the upcoming match.
India go into the match as well as into the tournament as the favourites to win it. But cricket is a funny game and we have had enough evidences from the past where we see the minnows upsetting the giants. India have to be cautious to not take Hong Kong lightly.
Probable Playing XI:
India: Rohit Sharma(C), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, MS Dhoni(WK), Dinesh Karthik/Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvaneswar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal.
Hong Kong: Nizakat Khan, Anshuman Rath(C), Babar Hayat, Christopher Carter, KD Shah, Aizaz Khan, Scott Mckechnie(WK), Tanwir Afzal, Eshan Nawaz, Nadeem Ahmed.