The biggest cricketing event in the sub-continent, Asia Cup, is scheduled to kick-start from February 25. In the opening match, defending champions Pakistan will lock horns with Sri Lanka at Fatullah, Bangladesh. India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are other participating teams in the two-week long event.
India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are certainly the stronger teams but one can’t take Bangladesh lightly, as they have the potential to emerge as the dark horse of the tournament. Whereas, for the minnows Afghanistan, it would be a learning curve as they will get a chance to compete with the world-class teams.
Sri Lanka and Pakistan would be high on confidence as they have won their last respective ODI series. If Sri Lanka have recently thrashed Bangladesh in the ODI series then Pakistan too have clinched a series against the Proteas while playing in South Africa. India and Bangladesh will have to pull up their socks if they want to prove their mettle in the tournament.
India have recently lost their ODI series 0-4 to Kiwis while playing in New Zealand. And on top of it, they would be without their regular skipper MS Dhoni in the Asia Cup, as he has been ruled out of the tournament with a side strain. Virat Kohli will lead the side in the absence of ‘the finisher’ MSD.
Asia Cup would be a good opportunity for all these teams to prepare themselves just before the World Twenty20.
India have won the Asia Cup five times, more than any other country, whereas Sri Lanka are at the second spot with four trophies under their belt and Pakistan are the defending champions. So, it would be interesting to see which team manages to lift the trophy. This time around it’s quite difficult to pick a clear favourite.
We at Zeenews.com invite you to post your comments and tell us who you think will emerge as the Asian champions.