Former Australian pacer Brett Lee believes Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will hold the key for India in the upcoming Asia Cup 2018 tournament beginning September 15 in UAE. India will begin its Asia Cup title defence against Hong Kong on September 18, a day before they face arch-rival Pakistan in a high-octane clash. Also Read - As Captain, MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli Never Supported Me The Way Sourav Ganguly Did: Yuvraj Singh
India will be without the services of regular skipper Virat Kohli who has been rested owing to his workload and in his absence, Rohit will lead the side and Dhawan will serve as his deputy. Also Read - Not MS Dhoni, Wasim Jaffer Names Rohit Sharma as Smartest Cricketing Brain
“Two key batsmen for India in the Asia Cup Shikhar Dhawan and secondly Rohit Sharma. I believe Rohit will get the best out of himself and also the team because he has been given that extra bit of responsibility to lead the Indian side,” Lee was quoted as saying in a statement issued by official broadcasters Star Sports. Also Read - This Day That Year: Sachin Tendulkar's Chancy 85 Sets up India's Win Over Pakistan in 2011 Semi-Final
“With Virat Kohli not playing, Rohit and Dhawan will be the two key men with the bat for India,” he added.
The 41-year-old feels Rohit will be able to deliver in the United Arab Emirates as the wickets will aid him. “The great Virat Kohli is being rested for the tournament, so that allows Shikhar and Rohit to be pushed up. There is a lot of talk about how Rohit can’t face left arm fast bowlers – with the swing and the ball going across him,” Lee, a veteran of 76 Tests and 221 ODIs, said.
“But I don’t necessarily agree with that but what I can say is that in the UAE it will be a different style he will have to face. Yes, they will bring on the left-arm fast bowlers to target Rohit but I believe on the lower and slower wickets in UAE, Rohit will dominate. I believe the wicket will help him out,” he added.
The 2016 edition of the Asia Cup was won by India when they defeated Bangladesh in the finals played at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium. It was for the sixth time that India had won the Asia Cup title in 2016.
India Squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan (vc), KL Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Khaleel Ahmed
(With PTI inputs)