In the Asia Cup, India is a formidable team that Hong Kong has to face in next after playing Pakistan. For the Indian side, this game is not even a warm-up but a dress rehearsal before they clash with their arch-rivals Pakistan on Wednesday.
The spread of Indo-Pak rivalry is one of the main USP of Asia Cup, and even when skipper Virat Kohli will not be present, under the aegis of Rohit Sharma, India is still I strong rival in the limited-overs format.
As a rule, Indian team won’t take Hong Kong lightly, but the game against the minnows is essentially a glorified dress rehearsal. But this will be an opportunity for India to adjust their game before the big event under the scorching heat of Dubai, where the temperature reaches 43 degrees.
In their first game, Hong Kong was beaten by Pakistan by eight wickets. The team was only able to score 116 runs that made game one-sided in favor of opponents. With a team of likes of Dhawan, KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, and Kedar Jadhav Hong Kong will need nothing short of a miracle to overcome their poor performance. Also, bowlers Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Kuldeep Yadav will also make the game difficult for them.
MS Dhoni has a very respectable record in Asia Cup, and this tournament is yet again when the world sees his ideal position. Will he go at no. 5, 6 or 7 against Pakistan will remain the biggest challenge. Coming in at no.7 will mean Dhoni facing talented Hasan Ali, Mohammed Aamir, and Usman Khan.
Instead of Dhoni, big hitting Pandya is more suited to come up at no. 7, while Jadhav or Manish Pandey can take the position at no.5 if Dhoni decides to show up at no.6. KL Rahul if he plays at no.3 will have to face troubles like he did in England from deliveries coming from Hasam or Aamir.
The middle-order conundrum of Indian team is nothing new but this time it needs attention given the fact team will have to deal with in World Cup 2019.
To provide India much-needed guidance, BCCI has already roped in Lankan left-arm throwdown specialist to help team tackle the battery of Pak left-armers.
Hong Kong game will be an ideal stimulation for Indian players to get their bodies into the play.
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur, Dinesh Karthik, Khaleel Ahmed.
Hong Kong: Anshuman Rath (captain), Aizaz Khan, Ehsan Khan, Ehsan Nawaz, Arshad Mohammed, Kinchit Shah, Nadeem Ahmed, Babar Hayat, Cameron McAulson, Christopher Carter, Raag Kapur, Scott McKehnie, Tanvir Ahmed, Tanvir Afzal, Waqas Khan, Aftab Hussain.