Ahead of their clash against Hong Kong on Tuesday, India skipper Rohit Sharma, while addressing a press conference, said that the main objective of the match will be to identify players for the number four and six slots. Hinting at the lack of a settled middle-order, which was evident during the recent ODI series defeat in England, Rohit said the performances by Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu and Manish Pandey would be crucial as the trio are battling for the middle-order slots.
“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 said. He then 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.”
Speaking on India’s bowling options, the captain said, “I haven’t thought about it right now. We want to see how each individual reacts 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 also praised Khaleel Ahmed’s inclusion into the squad and said the left-arm seamer ‘has tools to succeed at highest level’. Speaking on India’s first match at the Asia Cup, the skipper added that the team would assess the dimension of the ground. He also said that the wicket will get slower as the match progresses.
Rohit, however, said that the soaring temperature in Dubai, which was ranging at 43 degree Celsius on Monday will be a challenge for both the teams. Commenting on India’s approach towards minnows Hong Kong, the right-handed batsman 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.”
Signing off on a personal note, Rohit stated that the Asia Cup 2018 is the biggest tournament for him as India 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 said.