Predicting Team India’s Asia Cup 2022 squad

Team India’s squad for the Asia Cup 2022 T20 tournament is likely to be announced on August 8. The selection of the squad for the tournament to be held from August 27 to September 11 will be significant. The majority of the players picked for the Asia Cup are likely to travel to Australia for the T20 World Cup later this year.

Indian selectors have been resting their key players frequently over the last few months. However, according to a PTI report, things will change starting with the Asia Cup. A source was quoted as telling the news agency:

“Virat (Kohli) had spoken to selectors that he would be available from the Asia Cup onwards. The first team players will hardly get rest from Asia Cup till the end of World T20. Hence this is a two-week window after the Windies tour when they can rest.”

With a lot of speculation surrounding the team selection for the upcoming T20 tournament, we predict Team India’s Asia Cup 2022 squad.

KL Rahul and Deepak Chahar set to find a place

KL Rahul during the ODI series in South Africa. Pic: Getty Images
KL Rahul during the ODI series in South Africa. Pic: Getty Images

Experienced batter KL Rahul looks set to return to the Indian squad for the Asia Cup. He was likely to make a comeback for the ongoing five-match T20Is against West Indies, having undergone rehabilitation following his sports hernia surgery.

However, he was eventually ruled out after testing positive for COVID-19. A Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) source was quoted as telling PTI about the batter:

“KL Rahul doesn’t need to prove anything. He is a class player. Whenever he plays T20, it is always as a specialist opener and that would continue. Surya (Suryakumar Yadav) and Rishabh (Pant) are set to play as specialist middle-order batters going forward.”

In Rahul’s absence, Rishabh Pant opened the batting in England, while Suryakumar Yadav is performing the duties in the ongoing T20I series against West Indies. Apart from Rahul, pacer Deepak Chahar is also set to make his return to the T20I squad. He has already been named in the ODI team that will play three matches against Zimbabwe in Harare from August 18 to 22.

Chahar suffered a quadricep tear during the white ball series against West Indies at home in February and hasn’t played for India since. A subsequent back injury while recuperating at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru ruled him out of IPL 2022.

The 29-year-old has been a key member of the T20I squad since making his debut. He has a knack for picking up wickets at crucial intervals. His improved batting skills also give him the upper hand over some of the other pace-bowling contenders.

Automatic picks?

Suryakumar Yadav: Unconventional and effective. Pic: Getty Images
Suryakumar Yadav: Unconventional and effective. Pic: Getty Images

A number of players are likely to be automatic selections in the Indian squad for the Asia Cup. Rohit Sharma is set to return as captain after being rested for the ODIs against Zimbabwe. There has been a massive debate over Virat Kohli’s place in the Indian team, but if he doesn’t feature in the Asia Cup, it is unlikely that he will be part of the T20 World Cup squad. Expect him to be back as well.

Suryakumar briefly faced some criticism after seven consecutive low scores to follow up his terrific hundred in the third T20I in England. However, it seemed only a matter of time before he delivered. The 31-year-old settled all the debates over his position in the team with a sparkling 44-ball 76 in the third T20I against West Indies in St Kitts.

Shifting focus to wicketkeepers, it seems all but certain that both Pant and Dinesh Karthik will be in the squad for the T20 World Cup. Thus, they should feature in the Asia Cup as well. Pant’s fabulous hundred under pressure in the deciding ODI in England sealed his spot. Karthik gave another superb demonstration of his finishing abilities with his 19-ball 41* in the opening T20I against West Indies.

All-rounders Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja also pick themselves on the weight of their performances. Among bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah will lead the attack yet again. Till a few months back, there were question marks over Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s place in the team. But he has rediscovered his mojo and cannot be kept out of the T20 side, given his experience and shrewdness with the ball.

Fitness permitting, Harshal Patel should also be in the squad as his variations have made a big difference in crunch situations. Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was a surprise exclusion from the T20 World Cup last year, but he has come back stronger and is bowling with a lot more venom. Expect him to be Team India’s lead spinner at the Asia Cup.

Two slots, too many contenders

Will Arshdeep Singh make it to the Asia Cup 2022 squad?
Will Arshdeep Singh make it to the Asia Cup 2022 squad?

While 13 players are more or less certain to make the Asia Cup squad, there is massive competition for the remaining two slots. The contenders include Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Deepak Hooda, Shreyas Iyer, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, and Ravi Bishnoi.

Among the above names, Axar and Arshdeep might end up finding a place in the 15-member squad for the upcoming tournament in the UAE. The former has an edge over Ashwin because he is a better batter and fielder as well. Ashwin has done nothing wrong, but it seems difficult for him to be on the flight to Australia.

Arshdeep was pretty much an outside contender. However, in the four T20Is that he has played, he has made such a massive impact that the selectors might find it tough to leave him out. Being a left-armer, he also offers variety with quality, something which has been missing in the Indian bowling attack in recent years.

Hooda will be unlucky to miss out if he doesn’t get picked. He has impressed in the opportunities that he has been given. However, since Kohli is set to return, there will be no place in the middle-order for him. Shreyas is also likely to lose his place to Suryakumar. Only one of them can fit into the T20I squad and the former’s short-ball woes could cost him his place.

Team India’s predicted 15-member Asia Cup 2022 squad

Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Axar Patel, Arshdeep Singh.

Also Read: India’s upcoming cricket matches before T20 World Cup 2022: Full schedule, venues and match timings in IST

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