Image courtesy of: Zimbio
India captain Virat Kohli has been rested for the upcoming Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates due to the heavy workload he has had this year.
The decision to rest Kohli stems from the fact that the Asia Cup will begin four days after India’s ongoing tour of England concludes on September 11.
Furthermore, with India’s Test series against the West Indies starting less than a week after the Asia Cup final, the selectors decided to give Kohli a break.
As a result of this, Rohit Sharma will captain the team, while Shikhar Dhawan has been named vice-captain.
“Considering the workload we’ve given him rest,” chairman of selectors MSK Prasad was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “He has been playing continuously, yes he’s on the road since IPL, that’s looking at workload. I’ve been [to England] for the third Test match, we sat for a discussion regarding workload management, so we need preserve some players who are playing all three formats.
“Looking at that workload issue we have started with Virat and rested him. Other all-format players will also be rested in due course.”
However, while Kohli has been rested, pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah, all-rounder Hardik Pandya and opening batsmen Lokesh Rahul and Dhawan have been included in India’s Asia Cup squad even though they are part of the ongoing Test series in England.
Meanwhile, India have drafted 20-year-old left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed into their side due to his superb form as of late.
Khaleel has taken 15 wickets in his last nine limited overs matches for India A, and during that stretch, he did not go wicketless in any of the matches.
Prasad confirmed that India’s squad for next year’s World Cup has nearly been finalised as there are only two or three spots that need to be filled.
“Two to three slots we are yet to finalise, so for those slots we are trying and we’ll look at these 24 matches [in the lead-up to the World Cup],” he said. “You’ll come to know the slots more specifically as we go ahead … Among those, one of those seamers’ slots is open. We are looking at a left-arm option in Khaleel.”
India A opener Mayank Agarwal has been in red-hot form as of late, but failed to make the cut.
Despite this, Prasad revealed that the 27-year-old is “just a step away” from being called up to the national team.
“Mayank has been fantastic and performing consistently for 10-12 months, he’s just a step away, and I’m sure in due course of time he’ll get his recognition,” he said. “He did well in all three formats in domestic cricket and whatever opportunity he’s got for India A. We’ll definitely look at him when we rest senior cricketers.”
India’s Asia Cup Squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan (vc), KL Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Khaleel Ahmed