Asia Cup 2018: Laxman Sivaramakrishnan selects India’s batting line-up ahead of Hong Kong clash

He also believes that Axar Patel's inclusion can also help the batting lineup to a significant extent.

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan
Laxman Sivaramakrishnan. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

India are scheduled to begin their campaign of the 2018 Asia Cup with the contest against Hong Kong at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The Men in Blue are the defending champions and captained by Rohit Sharma, the team will be looking to make an impressive start to the tournament. Their second match is against arch-rivals Pakistan at the same venue.

The World Cup in England and Wales will take place next year and India’s batting conundrum isn’t yet sorted. While the top order is more or less fixed, the middle-order doesn’t quite seem to in shape. In the meantime, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, the cricketer turned commentator reckons that India can develop all-round cricketer Hardik Pandya as the finisher of the team.


Pandya is a fearsome ball-striker

The 52-year-old feels that the same can work wonders for the Men in Blue going into the mega 50-overs tournament next year. He mentioned that Pandya can be a brute force to reckon with provided he blends caution with aggression in his approach while batting. Moreover, he believes that Axar Patel’s inclusion can help the batting lineup to a significant extent.

“It is imperative that in the 20 or so matches before the World Cup, India continue to groom Pandya as the finisher. If he can bat consistently at No. 6, or towards the closing stages of the innings if the top-order has batted deep, it will give him a greater sense of comfort when the World Cup comes around,” Sivaramakrishnan wrote in his column for the Times of India (TOI).

“Pandya has shown that in white-ball cricket, he is a fearsome ball-striker. If he can marry his breathtaking strokeplay with enhanced consistency, it will make for a potent mix. Axar’s inclusion will in no way detract from the batting depth – Dhawan, Rohit obviously, KL Rahul, MS Dhoni,” the former Indian cricketer added.

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