The much-awaited Asia Cup 2022 gets underway on August 27 in the UAE and a day later, Team India will take on arch-rivals Pakistan in Dubai. The high-voltage clash gets more exciting with the fact that Virat Kohli will be back in action after more than a month-long break. The former Indian captain has been going through a rough patch after scoring hundreds of runs for the country and the upcoming tournament could be his best chance to redemption.
After being known as the run machine for years, Kohli has been facing a massive slump in his batting form for almost three years now. His wretched run on the England tour has also raised questions about his place in the T20I set-up when the word cup is less than 2 months away. Kohli managed scores of 11 and 20 in the fifth and final Test in Edgbaston. In the T20Is, he could score only 12 runs in two innings and finished with 17 and 16 runs in the three-match ODI series.
As the former India skipper is set to return to action after a couple of weeks, it would be interesting to see how he performs in the continental tournament. Meanwhile, former Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria opined that Kohli needs to get good scores before the T20 World Cup in October.
“If Kohli wants to be considered for the T20 World Cup, he will need to come back with a bang. He will need to perform by hook or by crook. You can’t have such huge baggage with the team and then to bench him will also be incredibly tough. Pakistan will hope that Kohli’s form slump continues because if he gets back his mojo, he will be dangerous,” said Kaneria on his YouTube channel.
The former cricketer further spoke about the form of Pakistan’s ace pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi who is battling a knee injury. The left-arm quick rattled the Indian top-order in last year’s world cup. However, Kaneria believes Rishabh Pant can take on Pakistan pacers if the wicketkeeper-batter opens the batting.
“Shaheen still has the form with him, but I kept on saying, ‘Don’t play your ace bowler in all matches because then there are chances of breaking down.’ He is with the team to the Netherlands for the ODI series, but if he doesn’t play even the third game, then he might be ruled out of the Asia Cup. Good sign for India but a bad one for Pakistan,” Kaneria further said.
“India have a number of options to try something different at the top with Rohit. Pant can open the batting and can be given a license to kill so that he takes on the Pakistan bowlers and dominates them. Pakistan are highly dependent on Shaheen to pick early wickets so this can be something India can think about,” he added.