The battle to become the supreme cricket team in Asia is set to begin in a few days and Team India starts the tournament as the favorites.
Although India enter the tournament after losing an ODI series in England and there is no Virat Kohli, the men in blue are still the favorites because of these following reasons.
It is an established fact that India’s top-order is currently the best in the world. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have some terrific numbers to back this claim. Despite being a failure in Tests, Dhawan is a massive threat in ODI’s as he proved in the recent tour of South Africa (323 runs in 6 innings). Rohit is in a purple patch as well. He scored a hundred in the ODI as well as the T20I series.
The absence of Vira Kohli may create an illusion of weakness but India has the middle order covered. KL Rahul, who blasted a hundred in his last Test innings is more than capable while other options such as Ambati Rayadu and Manish Pandey (306 runs without getting dismissed) have proved their worth in the recent games at domestic level.
MS Dhoni even though not at his supreme is still the best in the middle order and his experience could be the X-factor. Dhoni has played these opponents on numerous occasions and he is master in these conditions. He has played 66 ODIs against Sri Lanka and 33 and 18 respectively against Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Add to it the power-hitting abilities of Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav you have the best batting line-up of the tournament.
Wrist spin is still the flavour of the season in international cricket and the fact that the tournament will be played in Asian conditions makes Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav a match-winner.
Kuldeep ran through England in the recent ODI series while Chahal’s controlled leg-spin could be the best weapon to restrict runs.
The return of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah is an added bonus for the team.
Although there are six teams in Asia Cup this time, the fight would be between India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Sri Lanka’s young Turks are yet to make a mark in international cricket and the team has gaping holes to fill. Bangladesh have a strong potential but their inability to rise to the occasion makes them weak.
India’s biggest challenger will be Pakistan but they have too many issues to fix. Pakistan did surpass India in the Champions Trophy final but their over-all strength on a given day is no match to India.
India’s spinners have an upper hand while India possesses one of the best death bowling attacks that can neutralize Pak’s batting artillery.
India’s biggest worry will be Pakistan’s pace battery which is highly impressive. But even then India should be able to knock out Pakistan.