Asia Cup | India’s Predicted XI for Super Four match against Afghanistan in Dubai

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Asia Cup | India’s Predicted XI for Super Four match against Afghanistan in Dubai

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SportsCafe Desk

09/25/2018

This Asia Cup was supposed to be a chance for the Indian team to sort out the mess at the earliest and make the team prepare for the World Cup. However, the top-order brilliance has left the middle-order largely untested and today’s match gives them an opportunity to carry out some experiment.

Openers

Rohit Sharma: After a masterclass in captaincy, the stand-in Indian skipper made Pakistan realise what he can do once he is set and his century is just as good a demonstration of that. Nothing much to add for him - an absolute star once he gets going. Betting for another century with my own trouser on.

KL Rahul: After being labeled by many as India’s designated No. 4 for the England series, Rahul has suprisingly found himslef out of the team. However, if India think of resting Shikhar Dhawan for this inconsequential match, then the Karnataka batsman will get a go and should latch onto the opportunity.

Middle-order

Ambati Rayudu: This tournament somehow mirrors Ambati Rayudu’s career. A stunning paradox in Indian cricket, the Hyderabad boy can score runs, but the tempo slows down considerably over the course of the innings. Can he score some quick runs today? Anyway, we will find our answer pretty soon.

Manish Pandey: Dinesh Karthik hasn’t done much wrong in this series, but Manish Pandey’s recent performance is too good to be ignored. 73*, 117*, 21*, and 95* in the last four India A matches made Pandey a strong contender for the spot, where he had failed to prove himself in the recent past. A chance for him to come good will be better for Indian cricket going forward.

MS Dhoni: Although MS hasn’t played a lot of cricket in the recent past, he is 37 and his workload needs to be managed carefully. Leaving out MSD is no more an option, but if he understands his responsibility well and counters spinner a bit more efficiently, then India will be at a better space.

All-rounders

Kedar Jadhav: While talking about Jadhav, people have been describing how good a bowler he has been for India in the recent times and that itself speaks about his evolution. But he shouldn’t forget that he is a batsman first. The fact that the middle-order is largely untested so far, is not something the team management would have wanted in the first place. Jadhav’s assessment can only be done if he gets some more chances and bats more in the middle-order. 

Ravindra Jadeja: After a fantastic return to limited-overs cricket, Jadeja was duly negated by the Pakistani batsmen, especially Shoaib Malik, in the second Super Four match. And the Afghanistan encounter will be a chance for him to prove that his four-for against Bangladesh was not a fluke. 

Pacers

Siddarth Kaul: Here is a tricky choice. Bhuvneshwar Kumar just came out of an injury lay-off and it will not be wise to play him continuously and especially in a match that doesn’t have any consequence. But Kaul or Chahar? Considering the placid and non-swinging conditions of UAE, my bet will be on Kaul, who can hit the deck hard without compromising with the pace.

Khaleel Ahmed: Against Pakistan, Jasprit Bumrah dished out those yorkers like a pastime, but he has also been one of the heavily worked cricketers in the team. So, what about bringing Khaleel Ahmed, who picked up a three-for on debut against Hong Kong, back in the team and rest Bumrah for a game? Khaleel has pace, accuracy and most-importantly the X-factor of left-arm pace.

Spinners

Kuldeep Yadav: Kuldeep Yadav has been kept at bay by most teams in the competition, but it has also been proved in the past that Afghanistan are not a good team against spinners. However, one thing is for sure that Yadav is not a threat as he used to be since Joe Root decoded his mystery in England and the spinner, well, would now have to work on his variations to the table.

Yuzvendra Chahal: Five wickets in four matches in this tournament, Yuzvendra Chahal lived up to the tag of a partnership breaker, but his wicket-taking ability has seriously dwindled. But, no doubt about his ability. A champion bowler, and most importantly, a thinking one - a type of spinner world cricket has seen very less in recent times.

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