The top takeaways for India from Asia Cup 2023 win. India on track to conquer World Cup 2023?
The recent Asia Cup has proven to be an essential preparatory event for all participating teams, setting the stage for the upcoming World Cup which is set to commence in about two weeks.
Asia Cup 2023 started off on a fiercely competitive note, with Pakistan entering as the top-ranked team in the ICC ODI rankings and being touted as the favorites initially. In contrast, India started with a series of question marks surrounding the return from injury of three key players: Jasprit Bumrah, K L Rahul, and Shreyas Iyer.
At the end it was evident that India played remarkably throughout the tournament, clinching the title for a record eighth time.
Several factors contributed to Team India’s success:
Exceptional batting from Top-Order
Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill showcased superb prowess with bat at the top, providing stability and establishing a solid foundation for the team. Despite fewer centuries post-2019, Rohit's approach has been marked by selflessness and a higher strike rate, allowing players like Shubman to play at their desired pace and build their innings.
The Indian captain managed to get 194 runs in the six matches that he played in the Asia Cup, with three 50+ scores. Shubman, the rising star of the team, hit a century and overall amassed a staggering 302 runs in six matches with an impressive average of 75.50.
With fewer innings to prove himself as the pillar of the Indian batting lineup, Virat Kohli scored a total of 129 runs in three outings in the tournament, this includes the solid century he hit against arch-rivals Pakistan.
Fiery bowling line-up
The first-choice bowling line-up comprising Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and Kuldeep Yadav worked in harmony, effectively supported by Hardik Pandya - who displayed his prowess and provided crucial breakthroughs in crucial moments.
Siraj, who became the No. 1 bowler in ICC Men’s ODI ranking, clinched 10 wickets in the five matches that he played - with his career best figures (6/21) coming against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final. The left-arm unorthodox spinner, Yadav also stayed close to Siraj in the wickets tally with overall 9 wickets.
Pandya's all-round performance in the tournament also stands out, especially his exemplary bowling, suggesting he is fit for the role of the perfect third seamer in the World Cup playing XI. His impressive figures and control in the Asia Cup make him a reliable option who can bowl a full 10-over quota.
Bumrah and Rahul's comeback
Bumrah and Rahul's successful comeback after long injury layoffs reassured the team of their form and fitness, adding weight to India's World Cup prospects. KL Rahul scored 169 runs at an impressive average of 84.50 from three innings while, Jasprit Bumrah took 4 wickets from three innings at an average of 17.75. Rahul and Bumrah both had a great outing against Pakistan in the Super 4 game.
Areas of Concern for India
While India celebrated victory, certain areas highlighted potential concerns for the team's preparation:
Shreyas Iyer's fitness
Iyer's poor performance in the lone match he batted in Asia Cup wasn’t promising. It indicated a need to address his fitness and technique, especially against short-pitched bowling, raising questions about his readiness for international cricket post-back surgery.
Suryakumar Yadav's ODI performance
SKY’s struggle to find his footing in the ODI format still remains a huge concern for Team India, despite his T20 success. The team management has repeatedly emphasized the need for him to adapt to the demands of ODI cricket. Suryakumar could only collect 26 runs from the only game he played against Bangladesh.
Jadeja and Axar Patel's performance
Jadeja's underwhelming performance with both the bat and ball, coupled with Patel's limited wicket-taking ability and the injury he sustained, pose significant challenges in determining the optimal spin all-rounder for the team. Ravindra Jadeja scored mere 25 runs from three innings and took 6 wickets from 4 games. On the other hand, Axar was good with bat (68 runs) in the opportunity he gets but, as poor with the ball in hand.
With an eye on the upcoming World Cup, the team management looks committed to addressing these concerns and finalizing the ideal team during the series against Australia.
The triumph in the Asia Cup has instilled confidence in Team India and provided fans with hope for a thrilling performance from the Men in Blue in the World Cup, and even the chance of bringing the trophy home for the third time.