My India First

My India First

Asia Cup: SWOT evaluation of Babar Azam-led Pakistan squad

Picture Supply : PCB/ X Pakistan cricket workforce

The battle strains have been drawn and the rumble to contest for Asia’s largest cricketing crown is about to get underway.

This yr’s Asia Cup goes to be particular for lots of causes however none greater than the truth that it should function a gown rehearsal for the ODI World Cup beginning October 5.

One of many prime contenders to win the continental match this yr, Pakistan, appear agency on profitable the occasion and their on-the-field in addition to off-the-field method says the identical.

The Inexperienced Brigade just lately performed a three-match ODI collection towards Afghanistan and gained it 3-0. Nevertheless, it’s not identified to many who the bilateral contest was reportedly going to be performed within the UAE. 

The last-minute scheduling of the collection in Sri Lanka was accomplished to ensure it lays down an excellent preparatory floor for the Asia Cup as 9 of its matches are to be performed within the island nation.

Having registered a clear sweep towards the Afghans, the Pakistan workforce would like to win the continental match and stake a declare on the largest marquee 50-overs match that the calendar yr has to supply.


Tempo is tempo

The 2-time Asia Cup winners arguably have essentially the most deadly tempo battery main into the occasion. With the trio of Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf firing on all cylinders, groups can solely ignore its presence at their peril.

Naseem Shah, the youngest of the lot has picked up 15 wickets this yr in simply seven video games at a superb common of 19.46 and economic system price of 4.78.

Shaheen, who shall be spearheading the tempo battery has bagged 14 scalps in the identical variety of video games at a median of 21 and an economic system price of 5.01. He completed because the main wicket-taker within the just lately concluded ODI collection towards Afghanistan with six poles. Haris too has pretty equivalent numbers to Shaheen and was the second-leading wicket-taker within the Afghanistan collection.

Batters in blazing type

Skipper Babar Azam is main the two-time Asian champions from the entrance and his batting numbers are a testomony to the identical. Ranked No. 1 in ICC ODI batting rankings, the 28-year-old has racked up 538 runs at a median of 48.90, together with one ton and 6 half-centuries in 11 video games this yr.

He has been ably supported by his wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan who has notched up 433 runs in the identical variety of video games as Babar at a greater common of 54.12 and a strike price studying 92.12.

Whereas these two batters have been excellent within the ongoing calendar yr, a significant chunk of their success will also be credited to Imam-ul-Haq. Batting up entrance, Imam appears to be having fun with his time. He ended the collection towards Afghanistan because the main run-getter for Pakistan with 165 runs, together with two fifty-plus scores and averages 44.50 in 2023.


Who after Babar-Rizwan?

The decrease center order of Pakistan is skinny on expertise and that may value them a couple of essential video games on this version. Agha Salman has proven loads of promise in his quick ODI stint however he’s but to be examined totally. 

Having performed simply 14 ODIs, Salman has accomplished justice to the alternatives which were introduced to him with 396 runs at a median of 44.00. Nevertheless, what must be seen is whether or not he can thrive beneath high-octane stress if the workforce finds itself beneath the pump after dropping a couple of fast wickets up entrance.

Fairly akin to Salman, Iftikhar Ahmed too hasn’t performed sufficient ODIs to his liking. With the identical variety of ODI video games beneath his belt as Salman, Iftikhar’s numbers don’t make an excellent studying. The 32-year-old has simply scored 293 runs at a median of 36.62. Therefore, these two batters must do numerous heavy lifting if Pakistan endure a collapse and it would go both manner.

Fakhar’s sudden droop and Shadab’s dry spell

After powering his manner by three consecutive tons towards New Zealand earlier this yr, Fakhar Zaman’s type is experiencing a downward spiral.

27, 30, 2, 33, 14, 19 – a string of low scores illustrate how the southpaw has struggled to profit from his time on the high of the order currently. He was seen battling the shifting ball towards Fazalhaq Farooqi just lately and with extra gun pacers throughout groups within the Asia Cup, Fakhar’s wrestle may proceed.

Shadab Khan has been Pakistan’s go-to possibility in white-ball cricket for years now. The wily leggie has additionally gained the workforce quite a few video games together with his bowling means however his current outings vividly trace at his wrestle to snare wickets when wanted.

The bowling allrounder has performed six video games in 2023 up to now and has proved arduous to get away for opposition batters however what creates complications aplenty is his wickets column. Shadab has solely claimed seven wickets this yr and that determine may fear the captain as he’ll should shoulder the onus of offering the workforce with essential breakthroughs within the center overs.


The ‘Favourites’ tag

Pakistan have entered the previous couple of editions of the ODI World Cup as something however favourites. Nevertheless, after maybe for the primary time since 2011 a number of consultants are billing them as one of many high contenders to win the marquee match in India.

If Pakistan actually should stake a declare on the World Cup and show the billing proper, they should win the Asia Cup first. With all of the top-tier Asian sides that includes within the continental affair, Pakistan’s profitable marketing campaign will go a good distance in including a concrete purpose to the billing.

Three-time champions?

For a rustic that has been nothing wanting an absolute powerhouse in Asia, Pakistan have not fairly accomplished justice to their stature in Asia Cup.

Being one of many first few nations which have featured within the match because the very starting, it beggars perception that the Inexperienced Brigade has solely managed to win the match twice. Therefore, with the type of core that they’ve put collectively for the upcoming version, it triggers extra than simply hope that the Babar Azam-led outfit may declare their third Asia Cup title in historical past.



One of many causes that will find yourself hurting the 1992 World Cup winners this time is their lack of recreation time within the ODI format. Pakistan have performed simply 31 matches within the ongoing World Cup cycle which is 20 lower than their opponents in Asia Cup’s opening affair – Nepal (51). The dearth of recreation time within the ODI format can play a decisive position and harm the two-time Asian champions.

A hapless historic account

Pakistan’s loss share – 40%, is essentially the most in comparison with the 2 most profitable groups within the historical past of the match i.e. India (32.65) and Sri Lanka (32.00).

It narrates a tragic saga of the Pakistan groups which have chanced their fortunes within the match earlier and perished. Whereas the 2023 version shall be a recent begin, it solely takes one dangerous recreation to convey again previous and unsightly reminiscences from the previous.

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