Asia Cup 2014: India to take on Pakistan on March 2

New Delhi: Team India will take on arch-rivals Pakistan on March 2 in the Asia Cup 2014 beginning from February 25 in Bangladesh.
India has won the tournament the most times while Pakistan is the current champion after beating Bangladesh in the final of 2012 Asia Cup.

India dropped Suresh Raina from the ODI squad for the Asia Cup but he was retained in the T20 side for the upcoming World Championships in Bangladesh.

Cheteshwar Pujara, regarded as a Test specialist, has also been included in the squad for the Asia Cup also to be held in Bangladesh from February 25 to March 8.
The axe on Raina was also largely expected as the left-hander has been in wretched form for quite a while now. In fact he was dropped midway through the ODI series against New Zealand last month which India lost 0-4. Raina has scored only one half-century (against Zimbabwe) in the last 24 ODIs he has played.

Raina’s poor form has prompted the selectors to turn to Pujara, who has been a prolific scorer in Tests.

Pujara’s technique and his ability to score briskly will provide some much-needed stability to the Indian top order which failed miserably in the recent ODI series against New Zealand.

The selectors also reposed faith on off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who has not been very successful in overseas conditions. Ashwin found a place in both the ODI and T20 squad.

The pace department looks a trifle inexperienced with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Varun Aaron and Ishwar Pandey forming the line-up. The 24-year-old Bhuvneshwar, who has played six Tests and 31 ODIs, will be the spearhead in Ishant’s absence.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra has found a place in both the ODI and T20 squads but has not featured in any of the formats for a while despite being a part of the side.

The selectors have stuck to the opening combination of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma in both the ODI and T20 teams while Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Raina and Yuvraj make up the middle-order in the T20 squad.

Dhoni is the lone specialist wicket-keeper in both the squads although Ambati Rayudu can don the gloves if necessary.

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