ASIA CUP is starting from June 24th, right now the whole world is discussing reverse sweep rule, lets not get bogged down in that trivial discussion, because there is nothing wrong in playing a reverse sweep, those who create uproar and a storm in the tea cup must save their breath to cool their porridge.Since the advent of the Asia Cup in 1983-84 in Sharjah, the tournament has been played 8 times till the year 2004 and this will be the ninth one, so we can see there is a big gap between the 8th and the 9th Asia Cup. India has dominated in the Asia Cup and its very obvious from the results. Out of the eight tournaments, India has won 4 times, Sri Lanka has won 3 times and Pakistan has won only once. Bangladesh, Hong Kong and the UAE are the minnows and for them even to reach to the finals must be a herculean effort.
Despite the fact that Pakistan has won only once, they have posted the highest totals in the tournaments four times, in fact if you look at the highest totals of ten matches, Pakistan’s name appear 7 times and the next three berths belong to Sri Lanka. Now, the style of batting has changed from conventional cricket to more aggressive cricket due to the T20 matches, it is likely that all those previous records would be broken. The highest total posted by Pakistan is 343/5 against Hong Kong in 2004 and 300/9 against India also in 2004.
As for the individual records for all the 8 tournaments Sanath Jayasuriya holds the records for both batting and bowling. And even in the IPL he was seen in good form, so one should not brush aside Sri Lanka, they have the ability to surprise any team. In the Pakistan team of 2004 Asia Cup, Shahid Afridi was not in the team. Shoaib Malik was the top scorer averaging 63 runs in 5 matches also took 9 wickets. And for India, Tendulkar topped the scores with an average of 56 and Irfan Pathan took 14 wickets, in fact Tendulkar was only 2 wickets behind Pathan.
India is a very different team since the last Asia Cup and they are not going to take this tournament lightly. Also, they have a score to settle against Pakistan, i.e., the recent defeat at the Kitply tri-series in Bangladesh. While India and Pakistan both benched against each other in the same group, it will be an opportunity for both to play semifinals and then whoever plays against BD would be an easy sailing for them to the finals. So, there will be lot of planning from both sides. Pakistan may have advantage of playing at home and they have always played well in Karachi that is where they will play their round match against India. Here is a link of the schedule of matches to be played.
All countries except Pakistan have announced their squad for the Asia Cup and the news that has appeared about who is not playing in the Asia Cup are two players, Mohammad Asif and Sreesanth. The later is injured and the former is still visiting his in-laws and most likely to remain there for quite sometime. I wonder why everything moves so slow in Pakistan? Is it something very difficult for them to pick up a squad for the Asia Cup? Or they are hoping that Asif will come out from Naif Road Jail?
Its up to you to choose Pakistan’s/India’s squad and also make your own predictions as to who will win? Everyone, including all the leading Sri Lankan players are saying that India are favourites. Once again putting them under tremendous pressure to perform. Pakistan might be happy to remain underdogs but they are certainly capable of rising on a big occasion like they did last week.