India are set to start their Asia Cup campaign as they prepare to face hosts Bangladesh at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka, Wednesday. Though India, with their incredible record in T20 cricket of late, are favourites, Bangladesh are not going to be pushovers on their home turf.
India will be led by Virat Kohli in the Asia Cup after MS Dhoni suffered a back spasm Monday during a training session in Dhaka.
Despite missing Dhoni, India have some world-class players who can play an integral role in helping them start the Asia Cup with a win. Bangladesh also possess some incredible players in their line-up.
Here is a look at some of the key players from both sides for the Asia Cup opening game.
Kohli must be fresh after being rested in the three-match India-Sri Lanka T20 series. Prior to this, the Delhi lad was in scintillating form against Australia, scoring 199 runs in the three-match series, and was dismissed only once. Kohli is a wonderful player of both spinners and seamers, and is expected play an integral role at the top of the order. His ability to read and control the game while batting makes him a great player. Kohli also needs to lead the team from the front in Dhoni's absence, and make some clever decisions if things do not go according to plan.
The off-spinner is lethal on a pitch that provides assistance to spin bowlers, as was witnessed against Sri Lanka in the recent series, in which he picked up nine wickets and troubled the Lankan batsmen. The bowler not only gets turn, but also uses his height to a great advantage. He also has variation in his bowling armoury to keep batsman thinking. Dhoni has most of the time handed the new ball to Ashwin to take early wickets, and it remains to be seen if Kohli follows a similar pattern.
The Bangladesh all-rounder is one of the most talented players for the hosts: He can score runs at a quick rate in the middle order and also take important wickets. He is not a huge turner of the ball, but bowls in the right areas to trouble batsmen. Shakib might not have an impressive T20 record against India, having taken a solitary wicket and scored 12 runs in two matches. With such record, Shakib will be even more determined to improve his batting and bowling performance in front of his home crowd.
The stylish left-hander will open the innings for Bangladesh and can take the attack to India bowlers right from the start. Soumya plays fearless cricket and has a certain role in the team — to score quick runs. Soumya might not have been scoring consistently for Bangladesh, but when he is at the crease, he does not waste much time, as suggested by his T20 career strike rate of 138.29.