In nearly every era in any sport, there is a team – at times more than one – who dominate the game in each and every aspect.
In cricket, it can be termed that team is none other than India as they are a real force to be reckoned with in every format.
In the upcoming Asia Cup, they will start the event as the favorite to lift it for the record sixth time, but one thing which is standing in their way is the absence of the star performer and regular captain Virat Kohli, who has been rested for the event by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The Men in Blue will be coming in the tournament on the back of a demoralizing 4-1 defeat in the five-Test series against England.
This year, India have played only nine matches in the 50-over format and registered six victories, which is an impressive record to say the least.
But in their last assignment in the one-day internationals, Kohli-led unit registered a 2-1 defeat against England, which can be termed as a poor result considering they lost the series after going 1-0 up.
In the Asia Cup, India is the joint-most winner alongside Sri Lanka with five titles to their name. Their win/loss ratio in the tournament history is second-best behind Sri Lanka.
India are placed in Group A and will play their first game against Hong Kong on September 18, whereas their big match against arch-rivals Pakistan will be played on September 19 in Dubai.
Team India will go into the event with a considerably weak batting lineup without Kohli as he has been influential in all the formats in the last couple of years.
In his absence, stand-in captain Rohit Sharma will lead the team, not only in the field, but also with the bat in hand.
The Mumbai Indians' captain has been in sublime form in the ODI format over the course of last two years, where he has scored 1,617 runs at an amazing average of 62.19 with the help of eight hundreds.
He will have the support of veteran opener Shikhar Dhawan and wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni to share the responsibility of making sure that the team finish with more than respectable total on the board.
Opener KL Rahul might prove to be a trump card for the team as he will be coming in to the tournament after scoring a breathtaking 149 for the team in the final innings on the tour of England.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya's role will also going to be a crucial one for the team, as he alongside Dhoni will be responsible for a good finish.
In the bowling department, the team will be heavily relying on pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to share the burden of pace attack along with Pandya as the third seamer.
It will be interesting to see how the wrist-spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal – who according to stats have claimed more than 40% of the wickets for India since the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 – will perform in the conditions which will be ideally favourable to them.
Players to watch