Former Australia batsman Dean Jones on Saturday welcomed the BCCI’s decision to rest regular skipper Virat Kohli for the upcoming Asia Cup, saying “it’s not an one-man team” while also hailing the inclusion of young guns like Manish Pandey and Khaleel Ahmed for the tournament, starting in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on September 15.
“India are not a one-man team. No one’s going to replace Kohli but I’ll tell you what, it is an unbelievable opportunity for Pandey, Ambati Rayudu and these boys, and don’t forget M.S. Dhoni,” Jones, who is part of the commentary panel for Star Sports — the broadcasters of the tournament, told IANS over phone after the selection committee met here earlier in the day.
Kohli, who has been in prolific form in the ongoing five-Test rubber in England, where he twice belted 200 runs in the first and third Tests, was rested keeping in mind the gruelling tour of Australia, later this year.
Jones further said that the Rohit Sharma-captained team looks exciting and the Asia Cup can give the youngsters a perfect platform to cement their spot.
“I think it’s a great team led by Rohit Sharma, they got their bowlers right who can reverse swing and at the death, 25-30 overs will be bowled for the spinners. They got (Yuzvendra) Chahal, Kuldeep (Yadav) and Axar Patel bowling beautifully.
“Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) and (Jasprit) Bumrah will bowl at the death, they got a very good balance,” he added.
Asked if Kohli’s absence will affect the marquee clash against arch-rivals Pakistan on September 19, Jones said the world will be watching the match, irrespective of whether the 29-year-old plays or not.
“It is all about Blue for them (the Indian team) and trust me when Green meets Blue there will be excitement and fireworks,” he said.
“I am looking forward to him having a huge series. So trust me or not Kohli is not playing, but when Pakistan meets India the world will be watching,” he added.
Besides Kohli, the BCCI selectors also rested the likes of regular ODI players Suresh Raina, Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul.
After Rohit’s promotion as captain, opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan was named his deputy in the side that will see the return of Maharashtra batsman Kedar Jadhav to the national side after being out with an injury for a considerable amount of time.
Rajasthan’s Under-19 pacer Khaleel Ahmed also earned his maiden India call-up for the 14th edition of the meet.