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Sourav Ganguly said that the Indian cricket team will be favourites to win the Asia Cup 2018 title even without their regular skipper Virat Kohli.

India without Virat Kohli would not be the same but stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma is capable of guiding the defending champions to their seventh title triumph at the Asia Cup, former captain Sourav Ganguly said on Friday.

Kohli has been rested for the six-nation ODI tournament following a gruelling England tour that concluded with a 1-4 loss in the Tests for India.

The likes of Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav and Ambati Rayudu have been included for the Asia Cup beginning in UAE on Saturday.

All eyes will be on 37-year-old MS Dhoni who drew flak for his slow innings during India’s 1-2 loss in the ODI series in England.

“India could not do that well in England but in limited overs they are a top side. Team is much stronger with Virat but Rohit has a very good record as captain so I expect him to do well too. They are capable of winning (the Asia Cup),” said Ganguly, who is also the president of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).

India are the most successful team in the Asia Cup, having won six of the 13 editions of the tournament, including the only time it was played in the Twenty20 format, in 2016, making them the defending champions.

They won the inaugural competition in 1984, and then in 1988, 1990-91, 1995 and 2010 before the last one.

India begin their campaign against Hong Kong on September 18 before the marquee clash against Pakistan the next day.

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