Asia Cup 2014 – How may India fare?

Following the less than satisfactory tour of New Zealand, where it made plenty of improvement as per MS Dhoni but still was unable to win a game, the Indian cricket team shall now be visiting Bangladesh for the Asia Cup, which shall be followed by the World T20. The obvious question on the minds of every Indian cricket fan will be how will the Indian team do well in the Asia Cup? Given how it has done in the recent tour not many will have high hopes or expectations but that is where the Indian team might spring a few surprises.


Conditions: As of now form is not with the team but it needs to be kept in mind that the tournament will be played in Bangladesh, where the conditions are almost identical to India. The team is acquainted with such conditions and therefore can be expected to perform well, yet again.


Team composition: India has a strong batting line up with the likes of Kohli, Dhawan, Rohit and Rahane in reasonable form and they will be well backed up by the likes of Rayudu and Pujara. The latter will be getting his first opportunity for the national team in limited over games and it can be hoped that he will be eager to show his mettle with some consistent scores throughout the tournament. The team would have been hit hard with the withdrawal of MS Dhoni owing to an injury but Dinesh Karthik can be regarded as a capable replacement.


The team also has some good allrounders in Ashwin, Jadeja and Binny. Even Bhuvneshwar and Amit Mishra are capable of contributing with the bat in addition to their primary suits of seam and leg spin bowling. Binny, can also find himself in the mix in the absence of Dhoni as a hard hitting late middle order batsman and a canny medium pacer.


India has a decent set of seam bowlers in Mohammed Shami and Varun Aaron. One may also see Ishwar Pandey, who is known for his swing bowling, get a look-in during the tournament.


Leadership: MS Dhoni, after the New Zealand, has come in for a lot of flak from various corners for what has been perceived as negative captaincy. It is expected that Kohli would bring a different dynamic to the fore and will be more aggressive as a skipper. However, considering the fact that this is a major tournament, Kohli may also look to use the tried and tested methods so that the team can lift the championship again.


It is strange that following a grueling tour of New Zealand, the BCCI agreed to have the Asia Cup staged at such a short span of time. Following the tournament, India will also play the World T20 in Bangladesh and then the IPL followed by tours to England and Australia along with more matches crammed in between. The hectic schedule is surely taking a toll on the Indian team as can be seen from the injury sustained by Dhoni, who is regarded as one of the fittest cricketers in India. There is also a good chance that the team’s performance graph is going down because of this nonstop assembly line of matches.


Perhaps the powers-that-be need to keep in mind that players cannot perform like Michelin batteries – they will break down without proper time to rest and reflect on their game. They also need to spend time away from the game otherwise their love for the game will surely be diminished.


Excellence is achievable but with proper planning and utilization of resources. At the moment, the way games are being scheduled there is a serious risk that many more important players will break down and that too before critical tournaments. Otherwise, the board can also think of 2 or 3 separate teams for different versions that will allow everyone to perform at an optimal level, while also allowing the board to make plenty of money by staging as many games as it wishes to.