UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: The purpose of the Asia Cup is questioned every time it is held. Isn’t the mere fact that it pits India and Pakistan against one another in a real cricket match outside of the World Cup and Champions Trophy sufficient?
This Asia Cup edition might potentially have three matchups. Even if the rest of the competition is merely a front to get these teams competing, even though this is not the case, it is still worthwhile.
The two teams have only met 12 times since their previous bilateral matchup in the first week of 2013, with four of those encounters occurring during the Asia Cup. The only full members who have played them less frequently throughout this time have been Afghanistan and Ireland.
India and Pakistan must clash regularly because when they do, the tension between the two teams diminishes and the likelihood of another incident like what Mohammed Shami experienced the last time they faced off decreases.
The passage of time has brought the players closer together. Just take a look at the compassion shown by the Indian players in the viral video on Shaheen Shah Afridi’s health, who was their game-breaker the previous time they played.
After the game, India significantly lessened their batting inhibition. Pakistan still has a heavy anchor lineup, which only functions when the bowling unit is strong, despite replacing some veteran batsmen.
Their bowling has also improved since the previous game. Hasan Ali arrived just in time since Mohammad Wasim was hurt, but Afridi and Imad Wasim were both missing as well. That suggests Hasan’s not-so-good form.
Even though Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel won’t be playing, India seems more collected going into the Asia Cup. Compared to earlier, they are now a lot more tactically informed. In T20 cricket, these elements can all be completely disregarded on game day. Especially considering how infrequently the teams play one another.
Players to watch out for in the Asia Cup
Virat Kohli and Babar Azam: Babar Azam as well as Virat Kohli Even though we don’t yet know if they come from the same pea pod, they will undoubtedly be followed everywhere they go by the media.
Despite not getting many runs personally, Kohli has embraced the team’s concept of taking more chances. Ignore the outside noise; it can be muted. Is the team’s confidence in him now beginning to feel a little bit pressured given the lengthy dry run?
Although Babar is still a run-producing machine, does he have enough confidence in his batters to play a more daring game? It will be interesting to see if their bowling attack doesn’t appear to be as good as it was the previous year. Especially if Pakistan is asked to bat first at a location that favours chases.
Suryakumar Yadav: Suryakumar Yadav has scored 4,895 runs in 217 T20Is so far in his career. He also has one century and 29 fifties to his name, and his average is just under 32.
It seems astonishing that India, which has the same top seven players as last year, could enter the game with such a different mindset and threat. It seems unlikely that they would select a player of Kohli’s stature and then force him to sit. Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik are left to compete for one position. Karthik is a specialised finisher, whereas Pant is a more all-around batter and the only left-handed batter in the top six tough decision
With just Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Yuzvendra Chahal as the sure things, the bowling is not at its best. Arshdeep Singh, the only left-arm fast in the World Cup running, ought to be admitted. Avesh Khan and R Ashwin will likely compete for the final position.
India (probable): 1 KL Rahul 2 Rohit Sharma (capt) 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Rishabh Pant/Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 R Ashwin/Avesh Khan, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Arshdeep Singh
There is some disagreement regarding Pakistan’s bowlers because the top seven players are largely decided. Usman Qadir is expected to lose to Mohammad Nawaz since they won’t likely opt for two wrist spinners with Shadab Khan serving as vice-captain. Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah’s quick speed allowed them to choose Shahnawaz Dahani’s control over Mohammad Hasnain.
Pakistan (probable): 1 Babar Azam (capt), 2 Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 3 Fakhar Zaman, 4 Asif Ali, 5 Iftikhar Ahmed, 6 Khushdil Shah, 7 Shadab Khan, 8 Mohammad Nawaz/Usman Qadir, 9 Shahnawaz Dahani/Mohammad Hasnain, 10 Haris Rauf, 11 Naseem Shah.