India's chances in Asia Cup 2018 without Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli, the world’s premier batsman and the vital cog of Indian team is rested for the Asia Cup. But after a very long tour of England, it’s only fair that he needed a break. Make no mistake; India is still a very good side even in the absence of Kohli. So, they would be pretty disappointed if they don’t get their hands on Asia Cup come 28th September.
In the absence of the regular skipper, Rohit Sharma takes the charge of team India who himself has been very successful as a captain in IPL. Apart from the captaincy, Rohit alongside the other opener Shikhar Dhawan will have to play a major role if they are to be a dominant side in the tournament.
Considering how inconsistent India’s middle order has been of late, the onus would be on openers to lay down a good foundation. In the absence of India’s Mr. Dependent, Lokesh Rahul looks the most likely candidate to take the crucial no. 3 role.
The no. 4 batting conundrum has been a long-term issue for team India and either of Manish Pandey or Ambati Rayudu might get a chance to cement that spot for long term. Both Pandey and Rayudu are coming into the side after some wonderful performances at Quadrangular series where Manish Pandey scored 306 runs for India 'B' without being dismissed and Ambati Rayudu finished as a third highest run scorer with 187 runs while playing for India 'A'.
As always, the experience and calmness of MS Dhoni will have a direct impact on India’s fate going forward in the tournament. And lastly, if the likes of Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik and Kedar Jadhav could do justice to the finisher’s role, India will no doubt be a very tough side to beat.
One area where India has done remarkably well post the 2015 World Cup is in the bowling department. With pace spearheads Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah both back in the coloured outfit, the pace attack looks in really good shape. As and when required, Shardul Thakur and Khaleel Ahmed also need to step up and assist the bowling attack.
With the UAE tracks expected to be a bit slow and spin friendly, the sensational spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will be a major threat to any batting line up. Axar Patel will most likely operate as a backup spinner while Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav are expected to fill the role of the 5th bowler in the team. The balance of this Indian team will largely depend on the bowling of Hardik Pandya.
Thus, even in the absence of no. 1 batsman in the world, this Indian side looks really strong and no doubt is a heavy favourite to clinch Asia Cup 2018.