Colombo, 16 September
The Rohit Sharma-led Indian team will be favorites against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final to be held here on Sunday as they will be desperate to end the five-year drought of not winning a trophy in the multi-nation tournament. Akshar Patel is an important part of the Indian team but his injuries are a matter of concern. The Sri Lankan team will be without the services of its main spinner Mahish Teekshana as he has been ruled out due to a hamstring injury. The Indian team has not won any title in the last five years, so Sunday will be a good opportunity for it to add another trophy to its cabinet. A title win ahead of the World Cup would be an ideal morale boost for a team that has not been up to par in all departments. But compared to a few months ago, the team is looking much stronger than then. India last won the title in all three formats of cricket in 2018 when Rohit’s team defeated Bangladesh by three wickets in the Asia Cup in Dubai. After this victory, India failed to dominate important matches and occasions, which is quite surprising. India reached the semi-finals of the 2019 ODI World Cup and 2022 T20 World Cup. It lost to New Zealand in the 2019 World Test Championship (WTC) final and to Australia in the 2023 WTC final. The team also failed to make its presence felt in last year’s Asia Cup in which Sri Lanka won the title which was played in the T20 format. India prides itself on its cricketing tradition so this is definitely a very poor record and now the team will be looking to set some new trends with head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit. The Indian team is confident that it has a great opportunity to add another trophy to its cabinet on Sunday. India had rested five of its key players in the Super Four match against Bangladesh on Friday, who will now return in the final. The team had lost by six runs in this match. The return of Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya for the final will certainly strengthen the batting unit which had struggled against the Bangladesh spinners. Opener Shubman Singh played a top-class century but other batsmen could not rotate the strike well in the middle overs, leaving a big target in front of the lower order. This match also clearly showed that India will have to work on its problem that despite taking early wickets, it failed to contain the rival team. India had taken four wickets for Bangladesh’s 59 runs but its bowlers gave away a lot of runs in the last overs due to which the rival team was successful in scoring a good score of 265 runs. But the return of fast bowlers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav will solve this problem when they return in tomorrow’s match. India will also keep an eye on Axar Patel’s injury and the team management has also called in off-spinner Washington Sundar, who was training with the Asian Games squad in Bengaluru, as cover for him for the final. He will join the team by this evening. These problems of India are for the time being for the Asia Cup final but they cannot remain ignorant of the bigger picture. Before the World Cup, India has to play four more ODIs (Asia Cup final and three matches against Australia) apart from practice matches to see the preparation of all its departments. The title win in the Asia Cup will be important in boosting the morale of the team before the World Cup starting next month as the team would like to end the ICC trophy drought that has been going on for 10 years. At the same time, the Sri Lankan team is also full of confidence because the home team is going on a great streak by winning 15 consecutive ODIs. The teams are as follows:
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Verma, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami. , Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Washington Sundar (cover for injured Axar Patel). Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (captain), Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Zenith Perera, Kusal Mendis (vice-captain), Charith Asalanka, Dhananjay de Silva, Sadira Samarawickrama, Mahish Teekshana, Dunith Velalage, Mathisha Pathirana, Kasun Rajitha, Dushan Hemantha, Binura. Fernando, Pramod Madushan. The match will start at 3 pm Indian time.