Rohit Sharma to lead India, Khaleel Ahmed surprise inclusion

India’s squad for Asia Cup 2018 came along expected lines, with Virat Kohli being afforded a rest and a couple of India A and B players put up for audition for spots in the Indian middle order. After naming the squad, MSK Prasad said that only two to three spots are up for grabs in India’s World Cup squad.

With India’s Asia Cup campaign beginning exactly a week after the scheduled conclusion of the tour of England, at least two more of the players in the Indian Test squad were expected to be rested, namely Shikhar Dhawan and Jasprit Bumrah. But the Indian national team selection committee have named a strong, 16-member squad in a bid to defend the title won in 2016. Dhawan has been named as the deputy for Rohit Sharma, who will lead India in what will be his second ODI series as captain.

Khaleel Ahmed, the Rajasthan and Sunrisers Hyderabad left-arm pacer who played the second qualifier in IPL 2018, is the surprise inclusion in the Indian Asia Cup squad.

Umesh Yadav and Siddharth Kaul are among the omitted players from the previous Indian ODI squad, the size of which has been cut from 18 to 16 for the Asia Cup.

Suresh Raina is one of the batsmen who has been left out after a return of 47 runs in two innings in ODIs against England, though he had not been named in the original squad in early May and got an opportunity after three years only because Ambati Rayudu failed the mandatory yo-yo test. Rayudu, who was the fourth-highest run-scorer in the 11th edition of IPL, has passed the yo-yo test and been named in the Indian squad for the Asia Cup.

Kedar Jadhav has also made a comeback after missing out on the tour of England because of a hamstring injury he picked up in the first match of IPL 2018 playing for Chennai Super Kings.

Manish Pandey is another middle-order batsman who is back in the Indian squad after finishing the A-team Quadrangular series as the highest run-scorer with 306 runs in four innings. He was not named in the squad for the three ODIs against England, while Shreyas Iyer, who was a part of the squad, has been left out.

Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, KL Rahul, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shardul Thakur, Hardik Pandya, along with MS Dhoni, have retained their places in the squad. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who missed the Test series against England due to a back injury, has returned to the squad after having played only one of the three ODIs against England in the series played in July because of the same injury which he aggravated as well.

India squad for Asia Cup 2018: Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Khaleel Ahmed

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