Cup of surprises

India won the Asia Cup as expected —but it was Afghanistan that won hearts
The victory was no surprise but it took a nerve-racking final against Bangladesh in Dubai for Rohit Sharma’s men to win the Asia Cup and and fulfil their pre-tournament billing. Yet, as the final revealed in the form of a weaker team that punched well above its weight, or in the glorious run that Afghanistan had, this continental edition was more about the underdog altering scripts and surprising more fancied rivals. Asian powerhouses Sri Lanka and Pakistan tumbled out while Afghanistan held India to a tie. The medley of surprise results proved that cricket will continue to evolve and challenge its own hierarchies, especially in abridged versions such as One-Day Internationals and Twenty20s. It is a trend that will keep established teams on notice as matches in the coming months are a prelude to the 2019 World Cup starting in England and Wales on May 30. This state of performance flux was also reflected within the Indian outfit, which missed an injured Virat Kohli and is still searching for consistent batsmen in the middle-order just below the regular skipper. M.S. Dhoni, the finisher, is seemingly on the wane but his lightning reflexes behind the stumps remain intact and clearly he can still shepherd the chase and groom others to play like winners, a role akin to Rahul Dravid’s more than a decade ago.
India won its seventh Asia Cup but the honours for winning hearts firmly belonged to Afghanistan. A decade ago, Afghanistan was playing in Division Five of the ICC World Cricket League, competing against the likes of Norway, Vanuatu and Japan. The cricketing baby-steps first practised in the refugee camps near Peshawar in Pakistan were seen both as a distraction from the strife back home, and equally as a shot at forging a new life. Just this May, eight people were killed in a bomb explosion at a stadium at Jalalabad. Seen in that context, cricket has been a soothing balm, and the team led by Asghar Afghan dished out a rousing show with easy victories over Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the group games and then suffered tense, last-over losses to Bangladesh and Pakistan in the Super Four. In the dramatic tie against India, opener Mohammad Shahzad batted with aplomb and the spinners played a key role in restricting India. Afghanistan’s cricketers can no longer be treated as mere journeymen or plucky amateurs who ride on luck. Leg-spinner Rashid Khan is the world’s top-rated T20I bowler and second on the ICC’s rankings for ODIs. Teenage off-break bowler Mujeeb Ur Rahman has been impressive, with other promising spinners waiting to break through. Emerging cricketing nations can draw inspiration from Afghanistan; its momentum must be nurtured by adequate support from powerful cricket boards. India has already provided a training base in Noida; others should follow suit.

Source :  

About ChinmayaIAS Academy - Current Affairs

Check Also


According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), hydrogen will make up 12% of the …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Get Free Updates to Crack the Exam!
Subscribe to our Newsletter for free daily updates