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Asia Cup 2023: SWOT Analysis of the 6 Asia Cup teams

Asia Cup 2023: India, Pakistan look set but problems continue for Sri Lanka, Afghanistan. A detailed analysis on teams and their strengths.

Asia Cup 2023: SWOT Analysis of all Asia Cup team; Strength and Weakness | Walking wicket (Images_ ©ACC_Twitter)
India-Pakistan to face each other on September 2 (Images: ©ACC/Twitter)

The last time when Asia Cup was played in the ODI format in 2018 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), India lifted the trophy beating Bangladesh in the finals. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, is the current defending champion of the tournament - having won Asia Cup 2022 which was played in T20I format.


The Asia Cup 2023 begins with a clash between Pakistan and Nepal at Multan on August 30. Therefore, all the teams are busy with their last-minute preparation for the tournament, and to some extent for the upcoming 2023 ICC Men’s ODI World Cup in India.


Let’s take a look at the strength and weakness of all the six teams taking part in the prestigious tournament:


Powerful looking Indian batting and bowling could be hampered by lack of spin variation

Before the two vital ODI format tournaments, India’s batters seem to be well set. Led by skipper Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, the top order batting is reinforced with the return of Shreyas Iyer. With Hardik Pandya in the middle order, the blue brigade have the ability to post a huge score on the board against any bowling line-up.


Further, the comeback of Jasprit Bumrah has also boosted the bowling attack with Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja controlling the spin attack.


But the balance of the squad could be hampered by the lack of variations in the spin department. Although the squad has two all-round left-arm spinners - Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja - Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav is the sole specialist spinner in the side, and has no off-spin or leg-spin partner.


Moreover, India’s tail also puts up a poor show in the batting department, and the number 8 to 11 batters could prove to be a sore point for the team.


India Squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan (wk.), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya (vc), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Mohammad Shami, Mohammad Siraj, Tilak Verma, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Prasidh Krishna, KL Rahul (wk.), Shardul Thakur, Sanju Samson (Reserve)



Pakistan relies on fiery pace attack, but inexperienced middle order raises concerns

One of the teams that looks to be in red hot form going into the Asia Cup is Pakistan, having just whitewashed Afghanistan 3-0 in the ODI series.


Undoubtedly, the core strength of Pakistan is their aggressive pace attack, which includes names like Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf.


Among all the teams which have played the game since the 2019 World Cup, Pakistan have the best bowling average (27.42). Their pace bowling unit have taken 166 scalps in 30 games at an economy of 5.52.


Pakistan’s top order also looks to be in good form thanks to the presence of Imam-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam.


The main issue for Pakistan is the inexperienced middle order; neither Shaud Shakeel nor Agha Salman has been part of any big tournaments. On the other hand, in recent times, Pakistan have played only against some weak teams.


They had locked horns with a second-rate New Zealand side at home before the Afghanistan series and the lack of playing against strong sides could hurt them for sure.


Pakistan Squad: Abdullah Shafique, Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Iftikhar Ahmed, Agha Salman, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim Jr., Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Rizwan (wk.), Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi, Usama Mir, Naseem Shah, Saud Shakeel, Tayyab Tahir (Reserves).



Bowling woes deepen for Sri Lanka

Defending champions Sri Lanka have played some excellent cricket in recent times, the Lankan Lions won all of their eight games in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers 2023 in Zimbabwe - including the finals.


Batters Kusal Mendis, Dimuth Karunaratne and Pathum Nissanka, have done well at the top order. Captain Dasun Shanaka along with Kusal Perera, Charith Asalanka and Dhananjaya de Silva will make the middle order a little decorated in Asia Cup 2023.


In the bowling department though, the team have suffered some setbacks with Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Dilshan Madushanka being ruled out and Lahiru Kumara being unavailable.


Spinner Maheesh Theekshana would be leading the side’s bowling attack, which could turn out to be totally inexperienced.


Sri Lanka Squad: Dasun Shanaka (c), Pathum Nissanaka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Janith Perera, Kusal Mendis (vc), Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Matheesha Pathirana, Kasun Rajitha, Dushan Hemantha, Binura Fernando, Pramod Madushan.



Confident looking Bangladesh urges veterans to take charge

Ever since beating India 2-1 in a three match ODI series in 2022, Bangladesh have looked really confident and their squad looks balanced.


In form Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim will take care of the middle order using their huge experience, along with Litton Das and Mehidy Hasan Miraz, both of whom have begun to challenge the opposition with their all-round skills. The pace attack of Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman will be valuable for them on those slow tracks.


However, the injury to Ebadot Hossain, who is pacing to be fit for the World Cup, is expected to be a major setback for the side. The team is also missing some firepower in the tail which enables any side to post huge totals on the board. The absence of Mahmudullah Riyad could make it tougher for them.


Bangladesh Squad: Shakib Al Hasan (c), Litton Das (wk.), Mushfiqur Rahim (wk.), Najmul Hossain Shanton, Afif Hossain Dhrubo, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud, Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam, Nasum Ahmed, Shak Mahedi Hasan, Naim Sheikh, Shamim Hossain, Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Tanzim Hasan Sakib.



Dark horse Afghanistan bank on experience

Even though Afghanistan have lost the recent ODI series to Pakistan, a couple of close games reveal their preparations for the Asia Cup 2023.


Their top order looks solid in the presence of openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran. The captain Hashmatullah Shahidi too can anchor the innings well.


Their strongest weapon is undoubtedly going to be their spin attack led by Rashid Khan. Further, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmed and Mohammad Nabi will look to make it tough for the opposition on those slow Sri Lanka tracks; Fazalhaq Farooqi’s left arm pace will also be invaluable for them.


Their main issue is going to be their middle order that hasn’t fired at all in the recent series. The batters from number 4-7 positions made a combined total of 27, 22 and 53 runs in the three ODIs held respectively. The Afghan team can easily make any team sweat on their day but they have lacked consistency in both departments of the game.


Afghanistan Squad: Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk.), Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hasan, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Akhil, Rashid Khan, Gulbadin Naib, Karim Janat, Abdul Rahman, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmed, Suliman Safi, Fazalhaq Farooqi.



Nepal looks to enjoy and learn from the big stage

A rising force in Associate cricket, Nepal will be making their debut in this tournament in the 16th edition of Asia Cup. They had qualified for Asia Cup by winning the ACC Men’s Premier Cup 2023 in Nepal in April-May. The qualifying tournament had ten teams and Nepal beat UAE in the finals by seven wickets to earn the ticket.


Currently ranked 15th in the ICC ODI rankings and led by 20-year-old Rohit Paudel, Nepal have nothing to lose in this competition. They will look to enjoy and learn from the competition to polish their brand of cricket.


Nepal Squad: Rohit Paudel (c), Kushal Bhurtel, Aasif Sheikh, Bhim Sharki, Kushal Malla, Aasif Sheikh, Dipendra Singh Airee, Gulshan Jha, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Sandeep Lamichhane, Lalit Rajbanshi, Pratish GC, Mousom Dhakal, Sandeep Jora, Kishore Mahato, Arjun Saud.


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