India’s stand-in captain Rohit Sharma has said that the Men in Blue will look to fix their middle order slots during the 14th edition of Asia Cup. India will begin its Asia Cup campaign against Hong Kong on Tuesday (September 18).
During the limited-overs series against England in July, India’s regular skipper Virat Kohli had said that sorting the middle-order is one of their main goals. Subsequently, Virat opted to bat at No. 4 in the T20Is and pushed KL Rahul at three where the latter scored a century in the opening game at Old Trafford.
However, Kohli came back at his usual No. 3 slot in ODIs with Rahul batting at 4, Suresh Raina at 5 and Dhoni at 6 in the first two matches. In the third ODI, India dropped Rahul and batted Dinesh Karthik at 4. With less than 12 months to go for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in UK, India’s hunt for two solid middle-order batsmen still continues.
"Lot of spots are up for grabs like Nos 3, 4 and 6. All these guys (Kedar, Manish, Rayudu) are eyeing for those slots. We want to give chances to as many guys for this particular series. In this tournament, we need to seal the batting slot Nos 4 and 6," Rohit told reporters on the eve of the Hong Kong game.
Talking about Ambati Rayudu and Kedar Jadhav, the India skipper added: "They are both important members of this team. Rayudu was originally part of England series and similarly Kedar before his injury. It was unfortunate that they couldn't play for some time and I am very happy that both are back in the team. I expect them to win matches for India."
Rohit didn't disclose whether he was open to rotating bowlers in this scorching Dubai heat, but he mentioned that performers should be given a longer run.
"I haven't thought about it right now. We want to see how each individual react to different situations. At the same time, we want to give chance to as many guys as possible but also give more opportunities to those who are consistent. We would see how individuals respond to conditions and take decisions accordingly," he remarked.
Having had a look at the pitch, Rohit reckons it will get slower as the game proceeds.
"The wicket isn't that bad. It's going to get slower and slower as the match progresses. The first match we need to figure out the dimension of the ground and things like that," he opined.
Sharma also admitted that the change in climate will be a challenge for his troops especially for those who are coming from the cooler confines of English weather.
"It will be a challenge as a lot of our guys are coming from England. Some of us have been here for four days now and we are getting used to it," Rohit asserted.
Speaking about the Hong Kong game, Sharma said: "We are treating every opposition equally. We are looking at what we want to do as a team and if we do that a lot of worries and issues will take care of itself. Yes, the conditions are not going to be that easy. But it's game time now and we have to focus on the match."
On a personal account, Rohit is excited as well as nervous since this is the biggest tournament for him as Indian captain.
"I am excited as well as nervous. It is a big tournament for me. I know all the boys well. I understand them well which is necessary," he concluded.
(With PTI inputs)