India had a decent outing at the Asia Cup even though they did not make it to the finals. I am not too disappointed with that since these days, with the number of matches they play, I tend to look at each match separately instead of looking at the tournaments or series as a whole. And if u look at it that way, they beat SL and Pakistan, and lost to Bangladesh. They have not and probably will not lose to Bangladesh often, so I am ok with this one-off loss. What this showed us and, hopefully the team management as well, is that India have a weak bowling attack at the moment even on Asian pitches and we need to make some changes if we want to win matches consistently. Two things I can think of are - we need a quick bowler who can hit speeds of 140+ on a regular basis while maintaining a decent line and length, and a good left-arm spinner to complement Ashwin. Yadav and Varuna Aaron answer to the first requirement, but we need to find atleast one more so that we can rotate the 3 in case of injuries and workload. Ojha answers to the second one but again, we probably need one more. Another position I would love to have in the ODI team is that of a pace bowling all-rounder - someone like Shane Watson or Albie Morkel or even Ravi Bopara. This will give some flexibility to get through 5-6 overs in the middle of the innings and also give us some good runs with the bat
Coming back to the Asia Cup, one of the most satisfying performances in recent times came in the game against Pakistan. Virat Kohli played the innings of his life and we chased down 330 with so much composure, it was scary. I hope Virat continues the form he is in, at the moment he just cannot do anything wrong. One of my friends made a very interesting observation about that Kohli innings. The last 2 people who made 183 for India ended up becoming captains within a short while. Ganguly made 183 against SL in the 1999 World Cup and became captain in 2000. Dhoni made 183 against SL in 2005 and was made captain in 2007. I like trends, so if we go by trends, Kohli should become captain soon. It certainly helps that he is the vice-captain at the moment. In that Pakistan game, it was also satisfying to see Virat and Rohit share the partnership that decided the match for us. Also Sachin batted with visibly more freedom after getting to the 100 centuries landmark in the previous game. And that is the other big plus for India from the Asia Cup - Sachin getting the monkey off his back and getting the coveted record. Now it would be very nice to see Sachin choose only one format to play in, preferably test matches.
So as you guys can see, though we did not make the finals, we had a lot to gain from the Asia Cup. Now on to the tamasha that is the IPL. I know some of u are not too fond of it, but personally I like the IPL bcos it is tension-free cricket watching and I treat it like a masala Bollywood movie - watch, enjoy and forget each game as soon as it is over. I also like to watch a few players in action, so I track their progress and enjoy watching them play. I also treat the IPL as an exercise in talent spotting. A few good cricketers have been spotted at the IPL and gone on to play for India, the biggest of them being Virat Kohli. I will write another piece in a few days about the IPL and the players I will look out for.
Lets hear it from u guys. There are a few days to go for the IPL to start and we can share our thoughts in the mean time. Like I wrote above, I will post again in a few days about the IPL and share some thoughts on it, so stay tuned.