ICC highlights six players primed to perform at Asia Cup

August 29, 2023 at 5:02 PM

We take a look at six players that are likely to perform well for their country at the 2023 Asia Cup in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Pakistan – Babar Azam (MRF Tyres ODI Batting Ranking: 1)

The Pakistan captain often saves his best performances for the biggest occasion, and it would be no surprise to see the champion right-hander add to his 18 ODI centuries during the Asia Cup.

Babar holds a massive lead in the MRF Tyres ODI Batting Rankings and it will be his wicket that opposition teams strive for most when they take on Pakistan.

The 28-year-old compiled a pair of half-centuries in his two most recent ODI contests when scoring 53 and 60 against Afghanistan in their three-game series and this could prove just the entrée to what he delivers at the Asia Cup.

India – Jasprit Bumrah (MRF Tyres ODI Bowler Ranking: 32)

Everyone around the cricket world is happy to see the India quick back from injury and it looks like the pace spearhead has lost none of the magic that saw him become one of the most feared fast bowlers in the world.

Bumrah collected consecutive two-wicket hauls in his long-awaited return from injury in the recent T20I series against Ireland in Dublin and more is expected of the 29-year-old in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

While Bumrah is among the best exponents of new-ball bowling in the world, his versatility to also make an impact during the middle overs and at the death makes him an extremely valuable commodity for India skipper Rohit Sharma.

Nepal – Gulshan Jha (MRF Tyres ODI All-rounder Ranking: 105)

The teenager showed some excellent signs with both bat and ball during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier event and should not be underestimated heading into this major tournament.

Gulshan’s natural game is to attack and his quickfire half-century against Ireland at the World Cup Qualifier showed the left-hander is capable of scoring plenty of lower-order runs.

Gulshan will also be asked to keep the scoring rate down when utilised during the middle overs of opposition innings and the right-arm seamer generally picks up a wicket or two and is a player of immense talent that could shine at the Asia Cup.

Bangladesh – Taskin Ahmed (MRF Tyres ODI Bowler Ranking: 44)

With fellow quick Ebadot Hossain ruled out of the tournament due to injury, Bangladesh will be looking to Taskin Ahmed to carry the bulk of their fast-bowling load.

And on recent form, we can expect Taskin to be up for the challenge as the lion-hearted quick continually performs well when required.

Taskin bowled consistently during Bangladesh’s recent tour of Afghanistan and the 28-year-old collected five wickets in his two most recent appearances in franchise cricket in Zimbabwe.

Afghanistan – Rashid Khan (MRF Tyres ODI Bowler Ranking: 4)

The Afghanistan ace remains one of the most talented spinners in the world and much of his team’s fortunes will rest on his shoulders at the Asia Cup.

While teams in the past have often just defended Rashid and looked to score off other bowlers, things may be different at this tournament with plenty of high totals and loads of runs predicted at the event.

That will play into Rashid’s hands and the 24-year-old is sure to delve deep into his bag of tricks to see how he can deceive opposition batters and claim valuable wickets for his country.

Sri Lanka – Maheesh Theekshana (MRF Tyres ODI Bowler Ranking: 20)

With question marks surrounding the fitness of star spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, there will be extra pressure on Theekshana to perform.

The right-armer showed he is in good form when he picked up 21 scalps at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier event and the reigning champions will be hoping the 23-year-old can perform just as well at this tournament.

Theekshana appeared to be in good touch during the recent Lanka Premier League when he collected seven wickets and opposition batters will need to be wary of the talented off-spinner at all times. (ICC)