The world's most followed cricketing clash is back as traditional rivals India and Pakistan are set to rekindle their rivalry in the Asia Cup group match in Dubai on Sunday.
India suffered a 10 wicket hammering at Pakistan's hands in the World T20 clash in Dubai in October last year -- the first time India had lost to their neighbours in a World Cup.
But things haven't gone to plan for India, who have been playing continuously in the last 12 to 18 months, with several top players struggling for form.
A fit again K L Rahul, who is also the vice-captain, will rightly reclaim his spot as the opener alongside Captain Rohit Sharma, who will look to continue India's aggressive approach in the opening match against Pakistan.
Virat Kohli likely to be persisted at No 3 despite his poor run with the bat in the last two years. All of India will be hoping Kohli finally gets back among the runs against Pakistan, an opposition he has enjoyed a lot of success over the years.
He has scored 311 runs in seven T20I matches against Pakistan at an average of 77, with a strike rate of 118.
Hardik Pandya could prove to be the most important player in the middle. Since regaining his fitness, Pandya has taken his game to another level and has proved to be quite effective with both bat and ball for India in the last few months.
With Pandya back to bowling at his best, it has given the team a lot of balance and the flexibility to include an extra batter on slow wickets.
With Rishabh Pant all set to take over the gloves, it will be interesting to see who among the three -- Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda and Dinesh Karthik -- are picked for the two slots in the middle order.
Suryakumar has shown the ability to tear apart attacks in the middle overs and has evoked comparisons with the great A B de Villiers, for his incredible shot-making all around the park. He is very good against spinners, which should make him an ideal batter in the middle overs on the slow UAE pitches.
Karthik has excelled in the role of a finisher for his franchise RCB in IPL 2022 as well as for Team India in quite a few games and leaving him out could derive the team of the fire power at the end.
Hooda's stock has risen rapidly since breaking into the Indian team. What gives him the advantage over the other two is his ability to bowl a few overs of part-time off-spin, but he could find it difficult to break into the playing XI at the moment despite his recent good showing.
Ravindra Jadeja and Yuzvendra Chahal are likely to be the frontline spinners, ahead of veteran Ravichandran Ashwin and the young Ravi Bishnoi.
The experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar is likely to lead the pace attack with the young Arshdeep Singh, who has the ability to bowl yorkers consistently in the death overs, likely to get the nod ahead of Avesh Khan.
Likely XI: Rohit Sharma, K L Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh.
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