3 players who can captain India in Asian Games 2023

The Asian Games 2023 will return this year, promising cricket fans worldwide an exciting event with tons of action packed moments. This year’s games will run from September 23 and wind up on October 8. The 4-year sporting event is one of Asia’s top sporting games and India will look to make an impression at this tournament.

India has failed to feature in the Asian Games on two occasions (2010 and 2014) due to scheduling problems and commitments to international competitions.

However, all that is about to change.

India is reportedly mulling the option to field a different side for the Asian Games 2023. The team to appear in Hangzhou, China for these games will be different from lineups scheduled to appear at the 2023 ODI World Cup and Asia Cup 2023.

No first team player will be available for these games, so India will likely field a younger team with some experienced veterans to helm on-field affairs in China. Shikhar Dhawan will most likely lead the second-string side; however, some commentators are skeptical about such a decision.

Let’s find out why and the top 3 players who can captain India at the Asian Games 2023 apart from Shikhar Dhawan.

Why is Shikhar Dhawan Not the Best Option for Skipper at Asian Games 2023?

Punjab Kings Finish at IPL 2023

Shikhar Dhawan received massive criticism at IPL 2023 for his often-reactionary captaincy. He led the Punjab Kings (PBKS) at IPL 2023 and could only take his team to seventh place on the log. Such a poor finishing place is one of the main reasons pundits and sports analysts are increasingly skeptical about Dhawan’s selection.

Lack of T20 game time

The Asian Games 2023 is a T20I event. Shikhar Dhawan has not been at a T20I in almost 2 years after his last feature in July 2021. He is still one of the top players at club level with an impressive 373-run haul at IPL 2023. However, his lack of T20I game time may not help India’s chances at the Asian Games 2023.

Age

Shikhar Dhawan is currently 37 years old and will be one of the oldest players in any national team squad in most sports. His feature at the Asian Games 2023 may help bring experience to the team, but some commentators believe that is a non-starter.

India has a wealth of cricket talent and age is a common factor used to leave out older players from major tournaments where agility could make a difference.

Deprivation for opening batters

India has several opening batters that could feature in leadership roles at the Asian Games 2023. Giving the spot to a much-older Dhawan could cause several players to miss their opportunity at being skipper for the national team. It could also affect the chances to test the leadership qualities of players ahead of future captain selections for Team India.

Top 3 Players Who Can Captain India at the Asian Games 2023 Apart from Shikhar Dhawan

1.  Krunal Pandya

Pandya displayed his leadership skills and easy adaptability in tough situations for the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) at IPL 2023. He took over the captaincy at the business end of IPL 2023 when main skipper KL Rahul suffered a thigh injury.

Pandya seized the reins of LSG and secured a playoffs spot for his team after few games. LSG blew away opposing teams in their last games with a 60% PCT during the last five games (3W, 1L, 1NR). His team lost the Eliminator round, but several commentators believe Pandya is a future leader of international cricket with such inspiring displays.

2.  Ruturaj Gaikwad

Newly wedded Ruturaj Gaikwad (had his wedding to a cricket star Utkarsha Pawar on June 3, 2023) is another top candidate. Gaikwad is long considered as a top replacement for skipper at the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) immediately after MS Dhoni’s retirement.

He is scheduled to feature for the ODI and Test series for India through July and August but may appear in the Asian Games 2023 lineup as well.

3. Nitish Rana

Rana’s display as a stand-in replacement for Shreyas Iyer was one of IPL 2023’s major revelations. The player made a huge statement replacing his Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) teammate, performing above expectations in the season.

Rana was able to handle bowler rotation, selections, field placement changes and more throughout the season. He also contributed several exciting performances all season, raking in 413 runs – 40 more than Dhawan – at IPL 2023. Rana also raked in a 66% PCT after 12 games for Delhi at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

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