Nine members of the Rohit Sharma-led Indian team left for Dubai on Thursday afternoon to defend the Asia Cup title they had won two years ago.The remaining members of the squad, who competed in the gruelling Test series in England, will join the rest of the team on September 16 after a two-day break.The Test team which lost to England 4-1 in the five-match series will return to India on Thursday.Captain Rohit Sharma, who came to the airport accompanied by wife Ritika, will be leading the Indian team in absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, who has been rested keeping in mind his heavy workload.Eight other players MS Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and rookie left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed departed for Dubai on Thursday.The likes of KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik and Shardul Thakur will get two days to spend time with their families. The support staff led by head coach Ravi Shastri will also get a two-day rest and fly to Dubai with the remaining players of the squad on September 16.WATCH – Rohit Sharma & Co. depart for Asia Cup 2018Rohit and Co. are scheduled to train in the ICC academy in Dubai to sharpen their white ball skills. However till the whole team gets together, the squad will have to make do with additional academy cricketers in net sessions.”The idea was to allow those players who hadn’t been through the grind in England an opportunity to get used to the conditions early. A BCCI logistical team is already in Dubai to have things in place,” a BCCI source told India Today.advertisementThe tournament kicks off on September 15 with an opening day contest between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.India will started their campaign against Hong Kong on September 19 followed by the much-awaited game against arch-rivals Pakistan on September 19.Asia Cup will return to 50-overs format this year to allow teams an opportunity to prepare for the limited-overs ICC World Cup in England and Wales next year. The 2016 edition of the Asia Cup was a Twenty20 affair.