India's selectors will choose the team for the Asia Cup later this week or early next week. This will be their final choice before they must choose the 15 players for the T20 World Cup in October.
After the Asia Cup in September, there are home T20I series against Australia and South Africa, but it's likely that the World Cup squad will need to be announced before those games.
India could take one of two approaches to the Asia Cup: either choose their finest team or use the competition to further explore their World Cup prospects. As of right now, 12 spots are reserved, if everyone is healthy. Let's have a look at the spots already reserved.
On the batting front, there are Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Surya kumar Yadav, and Rishabh Pant. The two all-rounders should be Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya. With Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Harshal Patel as the three fast bowlers.
While Yuzvendra Chahal should be the wrist spinner and this that there are still three positions are vacant. It will be interesting to watch if India chooses these 12 players as their top options for the Asia Cup, or if they give other competitors one last go.
The plan might be to use the final three players to fill up as many gaps as possible.
Here are a few candidates whose selection for the Asia Cup will be important:
Deepak Chahar might have been India's favourite option as the powerplay wicket-hunter not too long ago, but Bhuvneshwar has provided as a timely reminder of his class during his injury-forced absence. India will still be tempted by Chahar's ability to hit sixes, especially to account for the likelihood that Jadeja won't be successful to get into the squad.
An interesting factoid is that in T20s in 2022, Ashwin has a higher batting strike rate than Jadeja. But Ashwin's revival in this format is not due to his batting. The off spinner has become the reliable bowler that teams have turned to recently: a seasoned bowler who can give you four overs with a good chance of taking wickets and a few bad days. If India can get Jadeja's runs elsewhere, Ashwin stands a strong chance of facing teams with a lot of left-handed hitters.
Axar is Jadeja's match-for-match backup. The threat Axar provides to Jadeja's position increases as the format gets shorter. However, it is improbable that India will select a player who is only a backup in that specific position.
In 2022, Hooda has seized every chance that has presented him. He has also demonstrated his ability to be useful with the ball should it be necessary for him to sneak in a few overs against left-handed batters.
The unique selling point of Arshdeep is that he is the only left-arm fast in the running and can nail yorkers at the very last second. It might come down to Arshdeep vs Chahar if India chooses just one fast-bowling backup.
Kuldeep Yadav & Ravi Bishnoi:
The two wristspinners have been involved in the T20I setup for a while now, but India's recent team selections indicate they won't field two wrist spinners in the same XI and may not require Chahal's backup. But don't be shocked if one of Kuldeep or Bishnoi reaches the Asia Cup roster.
Who would you choose if you had to choose three of the following seven players to round up India's 15-man squad?
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