© AFP
MS Dhoni led India to their sixth Asia Cup title © AFP

India were the deserving champions of Asia Cup T20 2016, going undefeated throughout the tournament. The protagonists of India’s success throughout the tournament kept changing, though Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma stood out with the bat, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya with the ball. It was not all about the younger players though; the three most seasoned campaigners for India did not do too badly either. Skipper MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Ashish Nehra are all on the other side of 30, but their performances in Asia Cup T20 2016 offered much to be happy about. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs Bangladesh, Asia Cup T20 2016 Final at Mirpur

Let us start with Dhoni. The Indian captain faced a mere 15 balls throughout the tournament, but he was not dismissed even once. In those 15 balls he managed to score 42 runs, including 20 off 6 in the final. His wicketkeeping was exemplary and his captaincy astute. Dhoni was written off as a spent force post ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 when he lost consecutive ODI series to Bangladesh, South Africa, and Australia. He has once again roared back and proven his critics wrong with 10 wins in his last 11 T20Is. Most tellingly, Dhoni seems to have rediscovered his ability to play the big shots at will.

Moving on we have Yuvraj. There were those who doubted Yuvraj’s worth in the side, and to be fair to those naysayers Yuvraj did struggle early on. Right since his first innings on comeback — despite the fact that he hit a 4 and a 6 off successive deliveries to help India chase 17 in the final over against Australia — Yuvraj was clearly struggling. He too seemed to have lost his ability to play the trademark big shots whenever he so wished. ALSO READ: Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli mastermind India’s 8-wicket chase against Bangladesh in Asia Cup T20 2016 Final

Then came the 32-ball 14 not out against Pakistan. Yuvraj was criticised for that innings as well, even though he remained unbeaten to guide India home. That time in the middle seemed to have opened a valve though; Yuvraj’s next two innings sparkled of his old swagger. He clobbered Sri Lanka for 35 off 18 balls and followed it up with an unbeaten 25 off 14. With 89 runs off 35 balls and an average of 44.50 Yuvraj was back as well.

Nehra is the third senior player whose performances have only enhanced his reputation.  Nehra took 6 wickets in 4 matches at an average of 16.50 and a strike rate of 14. His economy rate of 7.07 suffered only due to his one off day in the final. Despite never enjoying the reputation of being a model of fitness, Nehra has held up remarkably well. He continues to bowl at speeds in excess of 140 kph regularly; something the much-younger Ishant Sharma fails to do as often these days.

India’s three veterans have proven that age is just a number. Form may be temporary, but class, as they say, is permanent. Dhoni, Yuvraj, and Nehra have proven that succinctly.

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is an animal lover and comic, film and TV geek. A fast bowler at heart, he loves watching a good, low-scoring game of cricket. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)