India warm up for Pak with Hong Kong clash

Rohit Sharma's men face an easy opener as they take on Hong Kong in the Asia Cup on Tuesday. File photo

A formidable India will be aiming to make short work of minnows Hong Kong in their Asia Cup opener on Tuesday before getting battle-ready for their much-anticipated clash against arch-rivals Pakistan on Wednesday.

Even without regular skipper Virat Kohli, the Indian side, led by Rohit Sharma, is an intimidating one in the limited-overs format.

In the searing Dubai heat, where the mercury has risen up to 43 degree Celsius, the primary aim for the Men in Blue would be to get their combination right before the big game.

Hong Kong lost their opener against Pakistan by eight wickets in a thoroughly one-sided showdown where they could manage only 116 runs.

Unless a miracle happens, there won't be a remarkable improvement in their performance against an Indian team that boasts of the likes of Rohit, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Kedar Jadhav in batting along with Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in bowling.

For the past few years, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's waning batting skills have repeatedly come under scanner and this tournament will give everyone a fair idea of his ideal position. 

Possibly, Kedar Jadhav or Manish Pandey at No 5 and Hardik Pandya with his big hitting abilities at No.7 could prove to be an ideal foil for the former India captain, if he decides to come at No 6.

The middle-order has been an issue for India for quite some time now and need to be sorted going into the World Cup next year. 

The Bumrah-Bhuvneshwar combination will be back in action along with the Kuldeep-Chahal combination.

The Hong Kong game will be an ideal warm-up for Bhuvneshwar, who has been out due to a back injury. He recently came back to competitive cricket for India 'A' against South Africa 'A'.

The stadium is expected to be packed to capacity on Wednesday but one can expect a sizeable Indian population on Tuesday itself during the Hong Kong game.

Squads:

India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shardul Thakur, Dinesh Karthik, Khaleel Ahmed.

Hong Kong: Anshuman Rath (captain), Aizaz Khan, Babar Hayat, Cameron McAulson, Christopher Carter, Ehsan Khan, Ehsan Nawaz, Arshad Mohammed, Kinchit Shah, Nadeem Ahmed, Raag Kapur, Scott McKehnie, Tanvir Ahmed, Tanvir Afzal, Waqas Khan, Aftab Hussain.

 

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India warm up for Pak with Hong Kong clash

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