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Virat Kohli to skip Asia Cup, Rohit Sharma to lead India

Rohit Sharma will lead the Indian team during the Asia Cup 2018 with regular skipper Virat Kohli being rested from the 16-member squad for the upcoming tournament.

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Virat Kohli

MUMBAI, India: Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced that Virat Kohli has been rested for the upcoming Asia Cup, starting on September 15 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE,) and Rohit Sharma will be leading the team in the important tournament.

In place of Kohli, Khaleel Ahmed, the left-arm medium-pacer from Rajasthan, who got his maiden international call-up, has been called. Manish Pandey has also made it to the 16-member list, thanks to thanks to his excellent recent form.

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Kedar Jadhav was also included in the 16-man squad, having missed the three-match one-day international series in England, as was Ambati Rayudu.

Suresh Raina missed out, though, along with Umesh Yadav, Siddarth Kaul, and Shreyas Iyer, all of whom were part of the ODI squad in England.

Kohli was rested, possibly with an eye on the Tests against the Windies in October, which start less than a week after the final of the Asia Cup on 28 September. The selectors, however, decided to play others likely to feature in the Tests, including Hardik Pandya, Shikhar Dhawan, Jasprit Bumrah and KL Rahul.

Manish Pandey gets India call-up

Pandey’s call-up is no surprise. He has been in a rich vein of form, and was the top run-scorer in the recent quadrangular series between India A, India B, Australia A and South Africa A. His 306 runs in four matches, including a 73* in the final, helped his India B side to the title.

Jadhav was also part of the India B side, but his contributions were less spectacular – he totalled 30 runs in four matches, and in his one outing with the ball returned 0/10. However, he proved his fitness in the series, having come back from a hamstring injury that ruled him out of most of the Indian Premier League in April and May, and the tour of England that followed.

Rayudu was another player to make a comeback. He was originally in the squad for the ODIs in England, but was then excluded after failing the Yo-Yo fitness test. However, he cleared the test thereafter, and was part of the India A side in the quadrangular series, scoring 62*, 48, 11 and 66 in his four matches.

Ahmed, 20, has played 17 List A and 12 T20s so far, and was part of the India A side that toured England in June. He was also involved in the quadrangular series, picking up seven wickets in four matches, including a 3/45 against South Africa A.

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The Asia Cup is a six-team affair, with India slotted in Group B, along with Pakistan and a qualifier. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are in Group A.

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

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