With less than a week to go, 6 nations will fight it out for the much awaited Asia Cup 2018. United Arab of Emirates (UAE) will host the 14th edition of the tournament this time. India, winners of Asia Cup 2016, will be giving it their all to retain the title after heartbreaking series defeats in England.
India , the defending champions, will contest the tournament without their talismanic captain Virat Kohli. In Kohli’s absence, Rohit Sharma will lead the Indian side. The Indian side is currently playing their last test match in the ongoing England series.
Hong Kong filled the only vacant spot by winning their knockout match.
Will Ravi Shashtri come under the scrutiny if India fails to win Asia Cup?
BCCI decided to rest captain Virat Kohli for the tournament. Kohli’s deputy Rohit Sharma will wear the armband. The Indian side is coming from a ODI and Test series loss.
The fans seem to have a divided opinion on Ravi Shashtri (India’s head coach) post England series. The player-turned-commentator-turned-coach gave a controversial statement during a press conference recently. Ravi Shashtri claimed that his side has better overseas record than teams of the last 15-20 years.
Shashtri faced a lot of flak for the statement as Sourav Ganguly labelled him as ‘immature’ whereas Sunil Gavaskar passed out some facts in the interview. Gavaskar, once a teammate and captain of Shastri, recalled some of the series wins abroad by Indian teams of the past. “All I can say is that no Indian team has won in Sri Lanka for a long time. But we have won in the West Indies, in England, Test matches in Australia and South Africa,” Gavsakar told ‘India Today’ on Thursday.
The batting great said, “What I can say is that teams in 198 1980s have won in England and West Indies. Rahul Dravid also won series in West Indies in 2005, in England in 2007 and captained when India beat South Africa for the first time (in South Africa).
Only thing which is in India’s favour is the Men In Blue’s record at Asia Cup. India is the most successful team with 6 titles in their bag. The 20-year-old Sunrisers Hyderabad fast bowler Khaleel Ahmed got selected for the tournament.
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
All eyes will be on the openers to lay a good foundation for the batters to follow after them. Rohit Sharma will be vying to make a statement after he was dropped for the ongoing England test series. Shikhar Dhawan hasn’t been in a good form either. The openers have a knack to rise, when under pressure, and there are a lot of questions to be answered.
There cannot be a better opportunity than this. Asia Cup 2018 and a match against the arch-rivals Pakistan – it does not get better than this.
The trio consisting of KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya have a massive responsibility on their hands. Bhuvneshwar Kumar missed the England test series due to a back injury.
Former skipper MS Dhoni’s captaincy inputs will help the team in a lot of ways. The team is in desperate need for wins and there is no one better than MS Dhoni to get the team’s moral back on track.
India will start as favourites, however, my money is with Pakistan to go on and lift the trophy. The form that Pakistan is in, they can beat any team on any given day. Pakistan’s batting depth and potent bowling attack will prove to be deadly in the tournament.