With Asia Cup being played in a T20 avatar for the very first time keeping ICC World T20 in mind, the tournament gets even more important than it usually does. With two tournaments of such stature being played back-to-back, it becomes important for the squad to be shuffled appropriately and not allow fatigue to creep in.
The players will have to hit their mark early and keep that momentum going up until the end of World T20. But even with the thought of giving players time to rest, some are just irreplaceable and vital for their respective teams. They are likely to turn tides in their respective team’s favour and help them to the trophy.
Let’s look at the game changers:
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Undoubtedly, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin and Shikhar Dhawan are the biggest names for India going into the tournament. All three have been in explosive form recently and thrive on the sub-continent conditions which will aid India’s campaign in Bangladesh and then India.
Coming in early, Dhawan and Kohli provide the push and the start that any side would want to diminish the opposition’s chances early on. In the bowling department, Ashwin can come in after the pacers and can be used right from the onset – as he has numerous times in the past.
Pakistan will pin their hopes on experience to get them out of jail at Asia Cup. Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik are likely to play the role of a counter-attacker and to up the tempo at late junctures in an inning.
On the bowling front, left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz is expected to be the difference maker in getting early wickets and then reducing the flow of runs at the death.
Sri Lanka received a shot in the arm with the return of the experienced trio of all-rounder Angelo Mathews, seamer and captain Lasith Malinga alongside spin option in Rangana Herath. After the retirement of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, the islanders will be entering a major tournament for the very first time.
Veteran Shakib Al Hasan is the prime suspect as far as Bangladesh’s hopes of succeeding at home are concerned. Considered as the best player that the country has produced, he is prolific with the bat and the ball and in any format of the game.
Giving him support will be the unpredictable – as India found out in their last ODI tour – Mustafizur Rahman and big hitting batsman Mushfiqur Rahim.