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Who will make it to India’s Asia Cup squad?

Who will make it to India's Asia Cup squad?

On Monday, August 21, the anticipation will end as the senior men’s selection committee, led by Ajit Agarkar, convenes in New Delhi to unveil the Asia Cup squad. The burning question remains: Will KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, and Jasprit Bumrah make the flight to Sri Lanka?

India’s captain, Rohit Sharma, will virtually join the meeting, alongside selector SS Das, currently with the team in Ireland for a T20I series. Rohit’s presence carries added significance because the selectors are likely to finalize the draft squad for the World Cup. While September 5 marks the ICC’s deadline for submitting the draft squad, the selection panel aims to maintain consistency by selecting the same 15 for both events. The chosen squad, along with a few stand-by players, will then assemble in Bengaluru for a six-day camp before their departure to Colombo.

An essential topic of discussion will revolve around the fitness of Rahul and Iyer. The BCCI eagerly awaits a final nod from the NCA, where both players have been undergoing rigorous match-simulation exercises and practice matches to assess their readiness for 50-over cricket.

Iyer, in his first practice game, displayed promise as he fielded for the entire 50 overs and batted for 38 without discomfort. The NCA chief, VVS Laxman, and batting coach Hrishikesh Kanitkar closely monitored this performance. Rahul, expected to join Iyer for a second practice game on Sunday, holds the key to India’s wicketkeeping solution, especially with Rishabh Pant recovering from injuries sustained in a car crash last December.

Should Rahul secure his spot, he is likely to take on the role of wicketkeeper and bat at No. 5. Otherwise, Ishan Kishan is the top contender for the wicketkeeper position, which could lead to a batting order shuffle, a notion strongly supported by former cricketers, including Ravi Shastri.

Iyer’s potential inclusion resolves the critical No. 4 debate that has plagued India, dating back to the 2019 World Cup. In his absence, India experimented with Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson, and Axar Patel at No. 4 in the Caribbean. Suryakumar, India’s T20I vice-captain, admitted he couldn’t maximize his opportunities, and the team management may now consider him as a finisher.

Meanwhile, Jasprit Bumrah made a triumphant return to international cricket in Ireland, earning the Player of the Match accolade with 2 for 24. Prasidh Krishna, another pivotal bowler in India’s World Cup plans, also marked his comeback with two wickets.

India’s Asia Cup journey begins on September 2 against Pakistan, followed by a match against Nepal on September 4 in Pallekele. The top two teams from the group stage advance to the Super 4s, featuring three additional matches.

Beyond the Asia Cup, India will host Australia for three ODIs before kicking off their World Cup campaign against Australia on October 8 in Chennai.

Also, see:

No special security for Pakistan in World Cup, clears India

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