Virat Kohli has been picked in India’s T20I squad for the Asia Cup, returning after a break of more than a month following the conclusion of the tour of England on July 17. Jasprit Bumrah, however, was not part of the squad named late on Monday night, and according to PTI the fast bowler has a back injury. Harshal Patel was also unavailable for selection owing to a rib injury.
KL Rahul also made a comeback as vice-captain, after missing all of India’s fixtures since the end of IPL 2022 in May. Rahul first suffered a groin injury, then underwent surgery for a sports hernia, after which he tested positive for Covid-19 and was ruled out of the tour of the Caribbean.
Bumrah did not go to the West Indies after the tour of England, and he had also been rested from the upcoming ODI series in Zimbabwe. It is understood that he had back spasms last week and travelled to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, where he was diagnosed with a niggle.
Kohli has played only four T20 internationals – and missed 19 – since the T20 World Cup ended in November last year, scoring 81 runs at an average of 20 and strike rate of 128.57. His form for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2022 was a concern – 341 runs, average 22.73, strike rate 116 – and he scored only 1 and 11 in his most recent T20Is in England.
India are the defending champions of the Asia Cup, which was last played in 2018 in the ODI format. They had won the title by beating Bangladesh in a last-ball thriller in Dubai.
India, Pakistan and the team that wins the qualifying tournament comprise Group A, while Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are in Group B. All matches will start at 6pm local time (7.30 pm. IST), with ten games in Dubai and three in Sharjah.
The qualifying round of matches to determine the sixth team in the competition will begin on August 20 in Oman. The teams competing for a place in Group A – along with India and Pakistan – are UAE, Kuwait, Singapore and Hong Kong.
In the main draw, each team will play the other two in their group once, and the top two teams from each group will enter a Super 4 round that starts on September 3. The teams in the Super 4 round will play each other once, with the top two sides qualifying for the final on September 11.
This edition of the Asia Cup was supposed to be held in Sri Lanka but it was moved to the UAE last month because of the ongoing economic crisis in the island nation. SLC will continue to be the official hosts of the tournament, although it is being played in the UAE.