India missed the services of one opener Shikhar Dhawan in the 2016 Asia Cup T20 match against Pakistan, and now MS Dhoni could be without the other opener Rohit Sharma for the game against Sri Lanka, Tuesday.
Dhawan sat out the match against Pakistan with a niggle, with Ajinkya Rahane coming in the place of the left-hander. While the Mumbaikar could not quite make an impact in that match, after he succumbed to that wonderful inswinger from Mohammad Amir, it looks like Rahane will get another opportunity to impress at the top of the order, if Rohit misses out. However, the latest news is that Rohit might feature against Sri Lanka.
In the Pakistan match, Amir's first delivery saw the ball strike Rohit's left toe, and while he survived that particular lbw shot – he would be lbw the very next delivery – his toe was quite bruised by the end of the match.
A scan, thankfully, confirmed no fracture to the toe, but the bruising is bad enough for Rohit to have skipped practice on the day before the Sri Lanka match. Rohit was not present as India went through their paces in Mirpur Monday, which suggested the right-hander might not feature against Sri Lanka.
Of course, Dhoni and Ashish Nehra both missed practice on the day before the Pakistan match, but still played, and now it looks like Rohit might just be given a run-out, despite the injury.
Having won their first two matches, a victory over Sri Lanka will virtually guarantee them a place in the final, with their final league stage match being against the UAE. So, there is absolutely no point in taking any risks with Rohit.
Indeed, Dhoni, who did practice for India on Monday, should also be rested for his back problem, with Parthiv Patel, probably, given an opportunity at the top of the order. Rahane can be moved further down, or someone like a Pawan Negi or Harbhajan Singh can be given an opportunity, even if that will lessen the batting strength of the team.
Shikhar Dhawan was also a part of the practice session, and even if the left-hander did not seem to be moving at a 100%, it looks like he will be available for selection on Tuesday.
India, though, should have no hesitation in resting any or all of the three, if they are not fully fit, considering the importance of the trio with the World T20 2016 coming up.
Patel can easily play the next couple of matches, while the likes of Harbhajan and Negi need some match practice ahead of the World T20.
Sri Lanka continue to have worries over the fitness of their captain Lasith Malinga, who sat out the loss to Bangladesh on Sunday. Malinga, who returned from a long-term injury with a four-for against the UAE, has been tipped to return against India, but if the fast bowler is not fit enough, again, there is no point in taking a risk, even if the pitch conditions at the Shere Bangla National Stadium will make the "slinger" quite dangerous.
Even if Sri Lanka desperately need a victory to have any chance of defending their Asia Cup title, the World T20 should be the priority.
Expected playing XI: India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (C), Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, R Ashwin, Ashish Nehra, Jasprit Bumrah.
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Shehan Jayasuriya, Angelo Mathews, Chamara Kapugedera, Milinda Siriwardana, Dasun Shanaka, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dushmantha Chameera, Lasith Malinga (C), Rangana Herath.