Home > News >

India seek to rediscover winning momentum in Asia Cup 2014

India seek to rediscover winning momentum in Asia Cup 2014
India are up for another tough challenge when they square off against arch-rivals Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and debutantes Afghanistan © Getty Images

By Tapan Mohanta

Fatullah (Bangladesh): Feb 24, 2014

Humiliated and winless for quite a while, a bruised Indian cricket team would seek to rediscover the lost touch in a five-way battle for regional supremacy when the 12th Asia Cup 2014 tournament starts on Tuesday.

India were thoroughly embarrassed in their recent trips to South Africa and New Zealand, failing to win a single match in any format.

And now, India are up for another tough challenge when they square off against arch-rivals Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and debutantes Afghanistan in the sub-continent’s premier One-Day International (ODI) event.

Captained by Virat Kohli in the absence of an injured MS Dhoni, India have been a record five-time Asia Cup champions but can hardly be considered favourites this time around given the way they have faltered in recent months.

The struggles in South Africa and New Zealand have laid bare the team’s bowling frailties and the over-reliance on Kohli in the batting department.

The Indians will kick off their campaign on Wednesday with a relatively easy match against hosts Bangladesh.

But once again, the bestseller of the biennial tournament will be the India-Pakistan marquee match in Mirpur on March 2 when the two traditional foes renew their intense cricketing rivalry.

Pakistan will face Sri Lanka in the tournament-opener at Fatullah on Tuesday.

Without the finishing ability of Dhoni, it will be interesting to see how the new-look middle-order — comprising Ajinkya Rahane, wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik and the classical-mould Cheteshwar Pujara — performs in the slog overs.

After being made the captain as Dhoni’s replacement in a tri-series in the West Indies, Kohli had begun with a loss but since then he has been on a roll with seven straight wins.

That five of the seven wins came against minnows Zimbabwe tells a different story as Kohli will have a completely different challenge this time.

However, the Lankans will miss veteran Tillakartne Dilshan who was ruled out after picking a finger injury.

Lahiru Thirimanne has been included as his replacement.

Fourth-ranked Sri Lanka have a chance to displace India from the second spot by winning all their matches, including the final, in the Asia Cup but if India win even one of their matches, they will hold on to their ranking ahead of the April 1 cut-off date.

As for Pakistan, the defending champions, the most sought after match will be the one against India when the two arch-rivals meet for the first time after the ICC Champions Trophy 2013, which Dhoni’s men had won in a rain-affected match.

“It’s always a big challenge to playing against India because there is so much interest in the game. India are a formidable side and we have to be at our best to win,” Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said ahead of their tournament-opener against Sri Lanka.

Fatullah in Narayangonj, a suburban town in south of Dhaka, will host first five league matches before the tournament shifts to Mirpur in Dhaka.

Pakistan, who beat Bangladesh in last year’s final, come to the tournament on the back of series wins over Sri Lanka and South Africa and Misbah and Mohammad Hafeez along with Ahmed Shehzad will be the batting backbone.

The bowling department will sorely miss tall left-arm pacer Mohammed Irfan, who has been ousted after injuring his hip. Umar Gul will spearhead the attack while uncapped Mohammad Talha, who has been included after his six wickets against Sri Lanka in Sharjah Test, will look to make a mark.

Meanwhile, there is trouble brewing for the hosts after captain Mushfiqur Rahim claimed that he was not consulted for the Asia Cup squad. This year may prove to be drastically different from 2012 for Bangladesh, who finished runners-up in the previous edition.

Bangladesh will miss their key left-handed batsman Tamim Iqbal (neck strain) while former skipper and all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will miss their first two matches — India and Afghanistan.

The focus will also be on the improving Afghans who were added as the fifth team by the Asian Cricket Council after they qualified for their maiden World Cup to be held next year.

Afghanistan have played just two one-dayers against Test nations, losing both matches to Pakistan and Australia.

Asia Cup Full Schedule

February 25: Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Fatullah

February 26: Bangladesh v India, Fatullah

February 27: Afghanistan v Pakistan, Fatullah

February 28: India v Sri Lanka, Fatullah

March 1: Bangladesh v Afghanistan, Fatullah

March 2: India v Pakistan, Dhaka

March 3: Afghanistan v Sri Lanka, Dhaka

March 4: Bangladesh v Pakistan, Dhaka

March 5: Afghanistan v India, Dhaka

March 6: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Dhaka

March 8: Final, Dhaka.

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 29, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Deodhar Trophy, 2014-15

Nov 29, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at TBC

More

Afghanistan tour of UAE, 2014

Nov 28, 2014  at Dubai

United Arab Emirates won by 5 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 21 runs

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Photos

Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos

Videos

Phil Hughes passes away: Video tribute

Sean Abbott will find the road ahead a living nightmare

Phillip Hughes’ death: What happens to India vs Australia Test series?

Phillip Hughes 63 not out, forever

Phil Hughes: Remembering his most memorable knocks

Phillip Hughes passes away: Crying for Phillip Hughes

Australia England India New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 Phil Hughes Phil Hughes Death Phil Hughes head injury Phillip Hughes Sri Lanka

India tour of Australia 2014-15: 1st Test set to be rescheduled as David Warner, Shane Watson and Brad Haddin not ready

UAE beat Afghanistan by 5-wickets in first ODI at Dubai

Bangladesh edge out Zimbabwe by 21 runs in 4th ODI at Dhaka

Phillip Hughes was destined for greatness: Steve Waugh

Afghanistan set 249-run target against UAE in 1st ODI at Dubai

Shikha Pandey becomes 1st Indian Women cricketer to take 3 wickets and score half-century in same ODI

Phillip Hughes — Career Highlights

Phil Hughes’ death: Sean Abbott will hopefully come to terms with this tragedy says Mohsin Khan

Mohammad Hafeez becomes 2nd Pakistan batsman to be dismissed twice in 190s

Pakistan vs New Zealand: Phillip Hughes’ death and other atypical rest days

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Pukaar’s Rannvijay Singh will face new challenges with ‘Zen Life’

Yami Gautam Birthday: The Vicky Donor girl turns 26 (In Pics)

6 medical miracles that will blow your mind

OPEC daily basket price closes over three US dollars lower

Badlapur new poster: Varun Dhawan stuns us with his deadly rugged avatar – view pic!

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

6 must-have aromatherapy oils for your medicine cabinet

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here