The 15-member squad announced by the Indian cricket board for the Asia Cup in UAE from August 27 gives a clear indication of the team management's strategy for the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia later this year -- that it wants batting stalwarts Virat Kohli and KL Rahul to regain their form and be in the side for the global showpiece event.
Out-of-form batters Kohli and opener Rahul have made a comeback to T20Is through the 15-member squad for Asia Cup 2022 announced late on Monday. But pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah will not be a part of the competition due to back injury. Harshal Patel also misses out due to a rib injury.
The Asia Cup is of vital importance for Rohit Sharma and his side as India's performance in the previous edition of the T20 World Cup in the UAE last year was abysmal, to say the least. And with the 2022 edition of the event just two months away, India will look to ramp up its preparation for global event with a near full-strength side.
The Asia Cup, where India will play their opening game against Pakistan on August 28, will be a big opportunity for key members -- Kohli and Rahul -- to spend some time in the middle. With questions being raised about Kohli's recent form and his utility in the T20I setup, a good showing in the Asia Cup will put the debate to rest.
Kohli also has been short of T20I match practice since the 2021 World Cup, playing just four games -- two against the West Indies at home and two against England.
The squad also marks the return of KL Rahul, who has been out of action since the IPL. The opener underwent a sports hernia surgery and was set to return during the T20I series against West Indies. But a positive COVID-19 test further delayed his return, according to ICC.
The Asia Cup will present a great opportunity for the two batting stalwarts to regain their groove.