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04 March 2024

Kohli to captain India as Dhoni ruled out of Asia Cup

Virat Kohli reacts after scoring a century during the second one day international against Australia in Visakhapatnam, India. (AP)

By Staff

Beleaguered India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been ruled out of the upcoming Asia Cup tournament starting in Bangladesh on February 25.

Dhoni, who has come under fire after consecutive Test series losses overseas, reportedly suffered a side strain during the second Test against New Zealand.

A BCCI release has said that Dhoni would be undergoing rehabilitation of 10 days, thus opening the door for Dinesh Karthik.

"It feels good to be back in the Indian squad. It's an opportunity that I always relish," Karthik told Times of India soon after he got the news that he was back in the team.

Vice-captain Virat Kohli will lead India in the five-nation tournament also feature Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the absence of Dhoni.

Kohli was in charge for four matches in the Tri-series in West Indies, when Dhoni was nursing an injury, but Dhoni came back in the final against Sri Lanka to win the game in dramatic fashion.

Virat was also captain when India travelled to Zimbabwe and blanked the minnows 5-0.

There have been calls in the Indian media for World Cup winning captain Dhoni to step down from the leadership role in all three formats of the game.

He has been playing continuously since October and his back keeps hurting him from time to time, according to the report.

The skipper has always played through pain, but with the T20 World Cup coming up right after the Asia Cup, Dhoni didn't want to take a chance, it added.

The biggest beneficiary of Dhoni's injury is Karthik who was dropped from the Indian team despite a decent show in the Champions Trophy and the Tri-series in West Indies in June-July.

"There's no point looking back, I will try to give my best in the chances that I will get in Bangladesh," said Karthik who was snapped up by Delhi Daredevils for Rs 12.5 crores in the IPL auction.