Ambati Rayudu insists India can win Asia Cup without Virat Kohli

Denzil Pinto 21:49 15/09/2018
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Ambati Rayudu is hoping to play his first ODI since 2016

Ambati Rayudu believes India have enough quality to win the Asia Cup even with the absence of Virat Kohli.

The five-time champions will be missing their talismanic batsman after Kohli was rested by the BCCI following a hectic schedule.

It means there will be more responsibility for the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and MS Dhoni to score the runs but Rayudu insists there is strong talent to take them all the way in September 28’s final.

Obviously he (Virat) is a big miss and loss to the team. However, we still have enough quality in the team to go out and win,” the 32-year-old told the media during India’s training session at the ICC Academy on Saturday night.

Rayudu finds himself part of the international set-up for the first time since June 2016. Following an impressive IPL campaign for Chennai Super Kings where he scored 602 runs in 16 matches, Ambati was initially recalled to the India squad for England’s ODI squad only to be left out after failing a mandatory yo-yo test.

He found it ‘frustrating’ to miss the England matches but is fully aware there is strong competition if he wants to add to his 34 ODI caps in the UAE this fortnight.

“It was frustrating to miss out on the England tour but I am happy that I could make a comeback to the Indian team,” he said. “To be very honest, I have not really thought about it (competition) in that way. It’s just an opportunity to go out and play my best game,” added Rayudu.

India begin their quest for Asian glory on Tuesday when they take on minnows Hong Kong in Dubai before a stern test against arch rivals Pakistan 24 hours later.

Pakistan come into the tournament on the back of a 5-0 whitewash series over Zimbabwe while Mohammad Amir is among their quality array of left-arm seamers.

“The preparation for that game is going on and now we have a new coach to prepare for the left-armers. Hopefully, we will be prepared for them.”

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