India’s learning from Asia Cup 2018: With a three-wicket victory against Bangladesh yesterday, India won their seventh Asia Cup title.
Due credit to the Indian cricket team for dominating most part of the 14th edition of the Asia Cup. In situations where they were on the other side of the things, the Indians held their nerve to reach at the safe end, which is equally vital as not everyday is your day.
That being said, one question which remains unanswered is whether India achieved what they had aspired for at the beginning of the tournament. If not, how close did they reach in achieving their desired targets?
Not discrediting the importance of the Asia Cup, but then there is no hiding to the fact that India had stepped out on the field with additional goals than just winning the tournament. With the ICC Cricket World Cup approaching soon, India are yet to decide on several spots in their ODI playing eleven. As a matter of fact, even their victorious Asia Cup campaign couldn’t help them in settling on one playing eleven.
The most strongest facet of India’s ODI side is their top-order. In Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, they have a formidable opening duo, a couple of batsmen who have proved their mettle across oppositions and conditions. Add Virat Kohli to this pair and you would arguably not find a better Top three in ODI cricket at the moment.
However, what follows is a concern for India. During a press conference after yesterday’s match, Rohit Sharma rightly said that the middle-order needs more matches in order to settle down. India gave continual opportunities to Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik to push for a permanent case heading towards the World Cup.
Both of them did well, but the Indian team management would be wanting more from them. They themselves would be looking to finish matches for India in the upcoming series for getting out after a start is likely to hurt the team in the long-run. Therefore, No. 4 is still a concern for the team.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a world-class player but the team needs more from him as a batsman than what he has delivered in the last two series. Not questioning his place in the side but just that his indifferent form seems to be an apprehension for the team.
Kedar Jadhav is an ideal pick at No. 6. He has it in him to finish the innings and his bowling has been a revelation for the team. His becoming into an instant wicket-taker is working wonders for India. Be that as it may, Jadhav’s fitness is something the trainer and physios would have to work upon.
Yesterday was the second time in less than six months when Jadhav had to retire due to his hamstring. India can’t afford to take a risk at such a crucial position in the team. What is likely to be additional trouble for the team is finding his replacement.
India’s bowling line-up also looks gives signs of surety for the mega event. One thing which they would be aiming to accomplish is finding back-up options for Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. India’s new-ball bowling pair is effective in both the powerplay and at the death.
Having said that, the team management would want to sort some more options as conditions in England would not allow them to play two spinners each time round. The variety in the spin-bowling division seems to be dictating terms already.
All in all, India would be looking to reach an agreement about their No. 4 and No. 6 batting positions and building a little team in itself of fast bowlers for the limited-overs formats.