Just a week’s rest after the gruelling tour of England, Team India changed colours and traveled Middle-East to UAE (Pakistan’s adopted home venue) to defend the Asia Cup title which gets underway on Saturday (September 15).
India will plays its first match against Hong Kong on September 18. The very next day, they lock horns with arch-rivals Pakistan which is predictably touted to be the match of the tournament.
The last time these two sides faced off, it was Pakistan who outshone defending favourites India to lift the ICC Champions Trophy for the first time. That defeat is still fresh in the minds of every Indian cricket fan, and particularly all-rounder Hardik Pandya whose heroics (76 off 43 balls; four fours & six sixes) weren’t enough for India to chase down a stiff total of 338 runs at The Oval.
India has dominated Pakistan in the last decade (both at ODIs and T20Is); winning seven of the 11 ODIs played since 2010. Likewise, in T20Is India has won six of the seven matches played. In Asia Cups, both the cricket-frenzy nations have five wins against each other with one no-result match.
The Indian team for the Asia Cup 2018 was announced recently. Rohit Sharma was named the captain after selectors decided to rest Virat Kohli citing continuous cricket schedule.
“Considering the workload, we have given Virat Kohli rest. He has been playing continuously for quite some time. He’s on the road from the IPL. So that is why looking at the workload we have given him rest,” MSK Prasad, the chief of selectors, told Hindustan Times.
On England tour, Kohli scored an impressive 593 runs in 10 innings with two centuries and three half-centuries at an average of 59.30, becoming the top run-scorer in the Test series.
“I will like to tell that I have been there from the third test match. We sat for a discussion regarding the workload management, so we need to preserve some of the precious players, who are playing in all three formats. Looking at that workload issue we have started with Virat and he will be rested for the Asia Cup,” Prasad added.
Kohli is expected to make a comeback for the West Indies tour of India in October.