Asia Cup: Jasprit Bumrah ruled out, Virat Kohli returns to India squad
- Loss of strike paceman Bumrah is a major blow, while Kohli is back after being rested for India’s tour of England
- The Twenty20 tournament begins on August 27, with UAE, Kuwait, Singapore and Hong Kong playing each other before then to decide who takes the final spot
Pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah has been ruled out of India’s squad for the Asia Cup because of a back injury, but Virat Kohli is set to return following his brief break from international cricket.
Harshal Patel has a rib injury and will also miss the continental Twenty20 tournament, which is set to start on August 27 in the United Arab Emirates, with the Group B clash between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. India will play Pakistan in Dubai the following day.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India said in a statement that Bumrah and Patel were undergoing rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. The absence of strike paceman Bumrah is a big setback for India.
India, Pakistan and a qualifier will contest Group A in the Asia Cup. Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are in Group B.
UAE, Kuwait, Singapore and Hong Kong will compete in the qualifying tournament in Oman from August 20, with the winners facing India in their first game on August 31 in Dubai, and Pakistan in Sharjah on September 2.
The possibility of playing the two full-member sides has been hanging over the Hong Kong squad since the draw was announced last week, but head coach Trent Johnston said his team had not allowed it to distract them as they battle to win Challenge League B.
“It’s one thing the boys have done throughout the tour: taking it one game at a time,” Johnston said. “There’s never been any chat about the next leg or the next tournament, or the possibility of playing India and Pakistan in the Asia Cup.
“It was one thing I was a little bit worried about, but even during the preparation parts of the tour, it’s been about the next game, or the next training session that we’re having.”
Hong Kong’s next game is on Wednesday against Jersey. Victory will put them in the driving seat to win the league and a step closer to regaining their ODI status.
While India will be without Bumrah and Patel, vice-captain K.L. Rahul will return to action for the first time since the Indian Premier League in May. Rahul, who underwent surgery for a hernia, had been expected to play against the West Indies this month but was ruled out of the series after testing positive for Covid-19.
Kohli was rested after India’s tour of England ended in mid-July and has played in just four T20s and scored 81 runs since the Twenty20 World Cup in the UAE last year. He also had a below-par run in the IPL last season, making 341 runs at a strike rate of 116.
India’s selectors dropped Ishan Kishan, Kuldeep Yadav and Sanju Samson, who were part of the series against the West Indies. Fast bowlers Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan, along with leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi and prolific hitter Deepak Hooda, were retained.
The first and second-placed teams from each group in the Asia Cup will qualify for a Super 4 series, which is a round-robin to determine the two teams to meet in the final on September 11.
Sri Lanka remains officially the tournament host, despite the venues being shifted away from the island nation because of the economic crisis.
India squad: Rohit Sharma (capt), K.L. Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan.