Asia Cup 2018: India look to fine-tune their preparation ahead of World Cup
Stand-in India captain Rohit Sharma feels Asia Cup is a good opportunity to try out players coming out of injury and team combinations before next year's mega event in England
The Indian team had planned to arrive here for the Asia Cup on Friday, but realising the importance of the tournament, nine members of the squad who were not part of the Indian Test team to England, made it here a day earlier. The remaining seven will join the side today after a couple of days' rest at home.
"Since the Indian team had not played in this part for over a decade, we thought it prudent to arrive early and get used to the conditions," said stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma. The team had a rigorous workout at the ICC Academy ground in the Dubai Sports City. Considering India have to play back-to-back matches against Hong Kong on September 18 and Pakistan the following day, they have brought along two net bowlers - Shahbaz Nadeem and Siddharth Kaul.
None of the support staff except physio Patrick Farhart is here. The others will arrive along with the rest of the players. When Rohit was asked if the Asia Cup was a rehearsal of sorts for the next year's World Cup, he said: "This is altogether a different tournament although five of the teams who have qualified for the World Cup are playing here. Anyhow, it is a good opportunity for players who have not played cricket for some time and also for those like Bhuvi and (Kedar) Jadhav who have recovered from injuries, to get into the groove.
"We have a long season ahead with the Indian team set to play West Indies at home next month, and then touring Australia and New Zealand. So, this tournament is a good opportunity for us to work out the line-up and try out players coming out of injury."
There is no doubt that India know the importance of this tournament in which they are scheduled to play Pakistan twice. And after the licking the team received in England, they would be eager to redeem the situation, even without Virat Kohli.
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