Asia Cup 2018: Probable Indian Playing XI for the Group Stage
The Indian tour of England is done and dusted with a 4-1 victory in the Test series for England. Now, the next assignment for India is the Asia Cup which involves 6 teams being split up into two groups.
Selection of the playing eleven is the first important step towards success, and all eyes will be on the Indian playing eleven when they kick-start their campaign against Hong Kong on Tuesday (September 18).
Although the match against Hong Kong will be a fairly easy one, it is important to select the best possible eleven for this game because this match will set the tone for the rest of the tournament. India is stacked with Pakistan and Hong Kong in Group A. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan form Group B in this Asia Cup.
India will get to play two consecutive games and the second one being the all-important game against arch-rivals Pakistan. A win against Pakistan will give good confidence to the Indian side for the rest of the tournament. It will be an intense battle between the two teams and it is one game that every cricket fan would be eagerly looking forward to.
These two teams have a chance to face each other in the Super 4 stage as well if they both qualify, which in all fairness, they should.
Fixtures for India in Asia Cup 2018:
September 18, 2018: India vs Hong Kong, 4th Match, Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai, 17:00 IST
September 19, 2018: India vs Pakistan, 5th Match, Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai, 17:00 IST
India's Squad for the Asia Cup:
Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, K Khaleel Ahmed
Let us take a look at the probable Indian playing eleven for the Asia Cup clash versus Hong Kong on Tuesday (September 18) and versus Pakistan on Wednesday (September 19).
Openers: Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma (C)
This comes as a no-brainer. Dhawan and Rohit have been one of the most successful opening pairs in recent times and it is obvious that they will get to open the batting for India.
Opening partnerships are always crucial for a side's good run with the bat and in the 78 times that Dhawan and Rohit have opened the batting for India in ODIs from 2013, they have scored 3444 runs at a fantastic average of 44.72 with 12 100+ partnerships and 10 50+ stands. It is just an indication to what we can look forward when these two get to open the batting together.
If both of them or at least one of these two gets going at the top, India will be in a commanding position and it is up to the lower order batsmen to continue the good momentum generated by these two batsmen.
It will be a treat to watch both these batsmen open the innings for India, and a fine entertainment is on the cards in this Asia Cup.