India will have a chance to settle the score after the Champions Trophy embarrassment when they will take on Pakistan tomorrow in the second encounter of both the sides in Dubai. Ahead of the clash, we at SportsCafe, have collated a combined Indo-Pak Asia Cup XI that can be a world-beater.
Rohit Sharma and Fakhar Zaman as openers
Make any limited-overs team of the modern era and the stand-in Indian skipper would directly walk into it. Rohit Sharma is coming to the tournament on the back of a two-month layoff and will be eager to get a piece of action of international cricket. Zaman, too, is well aware of the position and the way he is batting lately, it is a no-brainer, he makes it to the team directly ahead of Shikhar Dhawan and Imam-ul-Haq.
KL Rahul and Babar Azam at No. 3 and No.4
Rahul and Azam would make it to the team on any day, and they will face no competitors for the positions. However, the original challenge was to slot the duo as per their positions. Rahul is an accomplished opener, but due to the presence of Dhawan and Rohit, he would bat at No.3. On the other hand, Azam is a permanent fixture in Pakistan’s team and bats at No.3 regularly. So, Azam's experience of playing more matches and his ability to adapt forces me to ask the Pakistan No. 3 to bat at No. 4 in this XI which will allow Rahul to bat at No.3.
Shoaib Malik and MS Dhoni follow them at No.5 and No.6
Here comes the experienced pair. Malik and Dhoni enter the league as two accomplished performers over the years and despite they are well past their prime, MS Dhoni is the best wicket-keeper between both the teams and well, Malik is still a terrific all-rounder. The duo can spearhead the middle-order and MS can be the best tactician behind the stumps. Dhoni will be the captain of the side thanks to his brilliant tactical nous.
Hardik Pandya as the only pace-bowling all-rounder
Such is the rarity of proper all-rounders in world cricket that even there is no one in Pakistan to replace Hardik Pandya. Faheem Ashraf was impressive in flashes, but is he as effective as the Baroda boy? NO. Pandya is head and shoulder above Ashraf as far as batting is concerned and is a better bowler as well.
Kuldeep Yadav as the prime spinner
I will have only Kuldeep Yadav in the team above Yuzvendra Chahal and Shadab Khan. Dubai and Abu Dhabi have always been pacer friendly, but the placid conditions this time around is helping spinners big-time. So, Kuldeep will fancy his chances of having another field-day thanks to the sense of novelty to his bowling.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hasan Ali and Jasprit Bumrah will rip anyone apart
One will ask why Mohammed Amir is not there in the squad? After all, he is such a devastating pacer around. Not really. Amir of the past is brilliant and even the one that made a comeback in 2015-16 took the centre stage like a pro. However, much has been lost after that and Amir is way too inconsistent to be in the team, especially when Pakistan have unearthed another gem in the form of Hasan Ali. The pacer will get the help of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, who both statistically and as per impact, are better than other Pakistani pacers in the form of Junaid Khan and Usman Khan.
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