Indian cricket team has left for the upcoming six-nation tournament in UAE. The men in blue will play under the captaincy of Rohit Sharma. Their first game is against Hong Kong who won the Asia Cup 2018 qualifiers to book a place in the main event.
With Virat Kohli rested, all eyes will be on the middle order how they fight back without their stalwart.
According to former Indian batsman Virender Sehwag, who has played 13 Asia Cup matches and scored 509 runs, has picked India as the favorites to win the tournament.
"If you look at the other teams in the tournament, Sri Lanka is not the same team as it was a few years ago and so is not supposed to mount a serious challenge. With Pakistan, one is never sure which team will turn up on a particular day, as they can be great or poor on any given day. India is the only team to play well consistently in the shorter forms across the world and therefore should win the Cup again."
Sehwag also counted Bangladesh out and don't think they can trouble the Indian team on a neutral venue.
"Bangladesh have defeated India before and are a dangerous team but only in their own backyard. Outside the subcontinent they have hardly ever defeated India and so there is not enough evidence that could prove that they are serious contenders for the title," he said.
India, after playing Test format a few days back, will have to focus on limited-overs cricket and Sehwag thinks it should not be a problem as players nowadays are used to of switching formats.
"International players these days have the ability to switch easily between different formats, so playing the Asia Cup just after the England Test series won't be a huge problem. But I don't like the scheduling of back-to-back matches in this day and age when cricketers are already traveling and playing around the year. The reason is that you don't get enough rest between matches which could affect your performance on the field," Sehwag said.
The explosive batsman who was very popular to give spinners a hard time added that the tournament is going to a be real test for Indian spinners.
"Kuldeep (Yadav) and (Yuzvendra) Chahal have been quite successful over the past year or so but during the tournament, it will be challenging for them to prove themselves against subcontinental batsmen who have been playing spin since they were kids. India can't rely on the fast bowlers to take wickets as the surfaces in UAE are going to be pretty flat with almost no assistance for the pacers," Sehwag opined.
Backing the under-fire MS Dhoni, he said the Indian wicket-keeper is good to continue at least till World Cup 2019.
"Dhoni should be there till 2019 World Cup as the other players like Pandya, Chahal et al can benefit from him a lot and pick his sharp cricketing brain on a number of issues. After the World Cup, India can assess his performance and decide accordingly," he concluded.