Asia Cup 2016 team preview: Pakistan have much to prove

Two-time Asia Cup champions Pakistan have a squad tipped on the younger side.

Written by Tanuj Lakhina | New Delhi | Updated: February 29, 2016 1:31 pm
Asia Cup, Asia Cup 2016, Asia Cup 2016 scores, Asia Cup scores, Asia Cup Bangladesh, Asia Cup Pakistan, Asia Cup Pakistan scores, Pakistan scores, Pakistan cricket, Pakistan news, Asia Cup scores, Asia Cup live scores, Asia Cup India Pakistan, Asia Cup Pakistan India, India Pakistan score, India Pakistan, India vs Pakistan, Pakistan vs India Pakistan have a very young look to their squad for the Asia Cup and World T20. (Source: PCB)

After a miserable and controversy induced World Cup, two-time Asia Cup champions Pakistan will look to make things right in Bangladesh. Under Waqar Younis’ stewardship, the 2012 champions will also seek to finally end their embarrassing streak of having never beaten India in ICC World Cups and they will get a bite at that cherry in less than a month’s time.

First Pakistan face India in Dhaka on February 27 and then in the ICC World T20 in Dharamsala on March 19.

In the previous two editions – both played in Bangladesh – Pakistan won the first (in 2012) after beating the hosts in a thrilling finale but lost the 2014 edition to Sri Lanka.

Contrary to many of their squads in the past, the current lot is a young one with much to prove. Although amongst their ranks are also experienced members in captain Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Mohammed Hafeez.

Coming into the tournament, Pakistan will not have the luxury of confidence on their side having lost to New Zealand, England and Bangladesh but picking up wins over Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. However, they would be boosted with the match practice gained during the on-going Pakistan Super League (PSL), which allowed many members in the squad to get some playing time under their belt.

Pakistan cannot boast of a well-balanced side that India can but the element of surprise could be Afridi-led side’s biggest advantage at the biennial tournament which would be played in a T20 format for the very first time.

WATCH: Pakistan’s game-changers

Focus on youth

In a surprise move, selectors didn’t make space for experienced Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Gul while being liberal with giving exposure to the youth in the large-scale tournaments.

Uncapped left arm pacer Rumman Raees and rookie all-rounder Muhammad Nawaz have made the 15-man squad alongside Test opener Khurrum Manzoor who hasn’t played a T20I for Pakistan.

For T20 tournaments where explosive nature is the prime requirement and not a level head on one’s shoulder, the presence of youth could eventually work out in Pakistan’s favour.

However, one thing that would still be required to succeed would be to stay fit and to stay consistent, as the Asia Cup is only a prelude to the big one in World T20.

Pakistan’s fixtures at Asia Cup:

Vs India on 27 February

Vs UAE on 29 February

Vs Bangladesh on 2 March

Vs Sri Lanka on 4 March

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  1. T
    Feb 19, 2016 at 11:00 am
    stan has defeated India on two occions in ICC Events. both were Champions Trophy Matches in 2004 and 2009.
    1. I
      Feb 18, 2016 at 7:05 pm
      Asia Cup T20 2016 Preview: Bangladesh Bangladesh will be looking to win their first ever Asia Cup crown in the upcoming Asia Cup T20 at home Bangladesh has had an eventful 2015. Series wins over South Africa, India and stan epitomized a renaissance in Bangladesh cricket. The growth of the side since the World Cup 2011 has been quite astonishing. As they look forward to the Asia Cup T20 on home soil, there is certainly a lot to look forward to. Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim will be high on confidence following their exploits in the PSL. Team News Pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman has been named in the squad. Mustafizur, who missed the PSL with a shoulder injury will be raring to go in the upcoming Asia Cup T20. Dashing opener Tamim Iqbal has been left out of the squad. Imrul Kayes has been named in his place. Al-Amin Hossain, Arafat Sunny and Taskin Ahmed will be expected to support the fiery Mustafizur. Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza will also have Abu Hider and Nurul Hasan at his disposal. Batting Strengths The return of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim adds solidity to the backbone of the batting order. Mahmudullah will also add the firepower towards the close of the innings. Imrul Kayes and Mohammed Mithun will also be expected to fire for the Bangladeshis as they take on their biggest test on home soil yet. Tamim Iqbal has been surprisingly left out of the squad. Bowling Strengths Apart from the rest of the bowling attack, the return of Mustafizur Rahman has been immensely important for Bangladesh. Mustafizur will be the key while he will be supported by Taskin Ahmed and Mashrafe Mortaza. It has also been observed that the wins in the last few series have been attributed to fine bowling performances from the Bangladesh seam attack. That said, the bowling attack seems to be in touchwood condition. Previous performances Bangladesh reached the final of the 2012 edition of the Asia Cup. However, they were beaten in the final by stan by 2 runs, this was their best performance in the tournament. Fixtures February 24th – Bangladesh v India, Sher-e-Bangla Stadium, Dhaka February 26th – Bangladesh v Qualifier, Sher-e-Bangla Stadium, Dhaka Squad Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Mushfiqur Rahim (WK), Shakib al Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman, Mahmudullah, Imrul Kayes, Mohammed Mithun, Soumya Sarkar, Sabbir Rahman, Nir Hossain, Al-Amin Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Arafat Sunny, Abu Hider, Nurul Hasan
      1. P
        Proud Pakistani
        Feb 18, 2016 at 6:10 pm
        There is an error in this article! The statement above regarding stan not beating India in major ICC events is not true. Its only the world cups stan has never beaten India. Now that's what you call embarring Tanuj Lakhina :) Get your facts right
        1. bruce lee
          Feb 20, 2016 at 2:23 pm
          Don't mind the uploader In India they drink so they get memory loss stan has beaten india the uploader is a typical consumer
          1. bruce lee
            Feb 20, 2016 at 2:24 pm
            Don't mind the uploader In India they drink so they get memory loss stan has beaten india the uploader is a typical consumers
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