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India squad for Asia Cup announced

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Mumbai: The Senior Selection Committee headed by Ajit Agrakar has announced the 17-member squad of India for the Asia Cup starting from August 30.

India have been bolstered by the return of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer in the squad.

Both the middle-order batters were rehabilitating from their respective injuries at the National Cricket Academy and have been declared fit for the Asia Cup.

The squad also marks the return of Jasprit Bumrah to ODI cricket after a gap of more than one year, an ICC report said.

After proving his fitness in the ongoing T20I series against Ireland, Bumrah is set to test himself in the 50-over format heading into the World Cup.

Squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya (Vice-Captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna.

Travelling reserve: Sanju Samson

The return of Iyer and Rahul is a massive boost for India in time for the Asia Cup as well as the World Cup. Both the players have been mainstays in ODIs of late at No.4 and No.5, the two positions India have struggled to fill after the 2019 World Cup.

Rahul has been a revelation in ODIs since moving into the middle order. In the 18 matches that he has played at No.5, Rahul has scored 742 runs at an average of 53 while striking at close to run-a-ball, a significant improvement over his career average of 45.13 and strike rate of 86.57.

Iyer too has been groomed for the No.4 spot since the 2019 World Cup, having featured 22 times at the position where he has scored 805 runs at an average of 47.35.

The other big highlight from the squad announcement was the maiden ODI call-up for Tilak Varma.

The 20-year-old has only played seven T20Is but has impressed with both his intent and temperament.

The southpaw, who averages 56.18 at a strike rate of 101.64 after 25 domestic List-A games, also gives India some much-needed left-hand variation in the middle order.

The Rohit Sharma-led India begin their Asia Cup campaign on September 2, taking on arch-rivals Pakistan in Kandy, Sri Lanka after which they face Nepal at the same venue two days later.

This will be the first time India and Pakistan face off in ODIs after the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

The top two teams from each group will progress to Super 4 where each team will face the other.

At the end of the Super 4 stage, the top two teams will face off in the final on September 17 in Colombo.

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