Famous former cricketer Mahela Jayawardene took his observation on some of the key players in India’s squad for the upcoming Asia Cup, shared how he would get the biggest impact from Virat Kohli, and discussed the left-field option for skipper Rohit Sharma. Top batting order.
India announced a strong 15-player squad earlier this week for the six-team tournament starting later this month, with pacer Jasprit Bumrah and fellow pacer Harshal Patel missing as the only big names – both with injuries. because of.
Former captain Virat Kohli and fellow top-order performer KL Rahul were among the players recalled for the UAE-based event, in which India’s first match of the tournament was scheduled to take place against arch-rivals Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on August 28.
The Asia Cup will play a key role in deciding which players will play for India in the T20 World Cup to be held in Australia later this year.
Virat Kohli has made only four T20I appearances for his country this calendar year and was one of the big names to sit on India’s recent white-ball tour of the Caribbean against West Indies.
The 33-year-old struggled for runs during the recent IPL tournament, scoring just two half-centuries and a total of 341 runs in 16 innings for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
But Jayawardene – who closely followed Kohli through his role as coach of Mumbai Indians during the IPL – echoed Ricky Ponting’s sentiments recently, saying the veteran right-handed batsman had to make his mark during the Asia Cup. Every chance should be given to find the best form. Hopefully, he can travel to Australia at the end of the year in good touch.
Former captain Virat Kohli’s dilemma
“It is unfortunate what Virat is going through right now at the moment, but he is a quality player,” Jayawardena told Sanjana Ganesan on the latest episode of The ICC Review.
“I believe Virat has the tools to come out of it (the form slump). He has done that in the past as well and I’m sure he’ll come through this.
“Class is permanent and form is temporary.”
Is the lack of practice matches a problem for KL Rahul?
While Virat Kohli has played sporadically for his country as of late, regular T20 opener KL Rahul has appeared even less as he battled injuries and then picked up Covid-19 recently when he was locked in on the return.
Rahul appeared to be in good touch in the IPL where he scored 616 runs for Lucknow Super Giants, but Jayawardene worries that his recent lack of cricket at the highest level will work against him.
“It (Rahul’s lack of cricket) will be a matter of concern for India,” Jayawardene said.
“He’s been out for a while since the IPL, so game time is crucial, especially in the middle.
“As soon as he can get some game time and get that confidence back, he’s always going to help him as well as the national team.”
What other options does India have with their top order?
In case KL Rahul does not return to his best during the T20 World Cup finale during the Asia Cup, Jayawardene backs India with skipper Rohit considering a left-field option to open the batting.
Jayawardene knows how good Rishabh Pant is during the middle and late overs of a T20I, but he is confident that the talented 24-year-old can be just as valuable at the top of the order.
Pant has opened the batting for India just twice at the T20I level, but Jayawardene knows the importance of a strong left-arm, right-arm combination at the top of the batting order.