The Asia Cup 2014 – Preview




Reigning champions Pakistan square up against familiar foes and a new comer in Afghanistan as the Asia Cup kick starts on Tuesday with Sri Lanka taking on Pakistan in the opening encounter. The Asia Cup played in 2012 was Sachin Tendulkar’s last ever series as an ODI player, and while India did manage to beat Pakistan thanks to a magnificent century by Virat Kohli, they failed to make the final. Kohli though has progressed from being the country’s best batsman to the country’s skipper, albeit only for a series. Bangladesh, who surprised many by making the final and losing only narrowly, haven’t yet lived up to their potential in the international arena, and given the controversies they are facing right now, it will be a surprise if they can repeat their heroics from a couple of years ago.

The Asia Cup 2014 - Preview

The Asia Cup 2014 – Preview

Sri Lanka haven’t really been in the best of form, but they will take plenty of heart in the whitewash of Bangladesh while Pakistan’s outfit seems the strongest with an impressive blend of youth and experience and led by the never ageing Misbah Ul Haq. One team which enters the tournament with nothing to lose is Afghanistan, who will be competing in their first ever major ODI international tournament. Led by Mohammad Nabi, Afghanistan will be looking to collect as much experience as they can from the experienced campaigners before the T20 World Cup next month and the 2015 World Cup in Australia.

After back to back defeats in South Africa and New Zealand, Virat Kohli, inarguably the best batsman on current form in the 50 over format, will have his hands full as anything less than a trophy here will be disappointing for India, who go into the series without their talismanic skipper MS Dhoni. Though India will miss the experience of Dhoni, Raina and Yuvraj Singh in the middle order, it is the bowling attack,which has conceded 300 runs no less than ten times in the last fourteen months that will concern Kohli.

Misbah, like Kohli, has been Pakistan’s best batsman in the last couple of years but Pakistan, unlike India, have been enjoying a rich success streak that saw them win four of the last five ODI series. Despite Mohammad Irfan’s absence, Pakistan go in to the tournament with a stong bowling line-up starring the pace spin duo of Junaid Khan and Saeed Ajmal.

Angelo Mathews’ Sri Lanka enter the tournament on the back of a series whitewash against Bangladesh last weekand though, Sri Lanka may no longer be the force that made them a formidable ODI unit a few years ago, they still have the riches of Sangakkara and Jayawardene in the middle order and if Chandimal and KusalPerera can live up to their potential, Sri Lanka still are still a strong force to reckon with despite the injuries to TillekaratneDilshan and RanganaHerath,

Mushfiqur Rahim would rather have had woes on the field rather than off it. After publically having a go at the selectors for not consulting him during the tournament’s squad selection, Rahim also saw Tamim ruled out of the tournament due to a neck strain and Shakib Al Hasan get suspended for an inappropriate gesture at the cameras during the ODI series against Sri Lanka. Shakib’s suspension adds to Bangladesh’s bowling woes which already saw Mortaza ruled out due to a swollen knee and it will be interesting to see how the now experienced keeper handle his limited resources.

The tournament will see each of the teams play each other once in the league stages before the top two finals clash in the finals at Dhaka on March 8.

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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