Asia Cup 2022: Five Indian players to watch out for

Asia Cup 2022: Here are the five players to watch out for as Rohit Sharma’s Team India gears up to defend its Asia Cup title in the UAE.

Hardik Pandya’s return to full fitness has been pivotal to India’s recent success in T20Is.

Hardik Pandya’s return to full fitness has been pivotal to India’s recent success in T20Is. | Photo Credit: AFP

Asia Cup 2022: Here are the five players to watch out for as Rohit Sharma’s Team India gears up to defend its Asia Cup title in the UAE.

As defending champion India gears up for Asia Cup 2022 and eyes a record-extending eighth title, here is a look at five players who will be key for the Men in Blue in UAE, starting August 27 against Pakistan.

Hardik Pandya

Hardik Pandya’s return to full fitness has been pivotal to India’s recent success in T20Is in the wake of the side’s T20 World Cup 2021 group stage exit. After leading Gujarat Titans to a title win in IPL 2022 with his all-round brilliance as player and acumen as captain, Pandya all but sealed the No.5 slot in the Indian line-up with three blistering knocks against South Africa in the home T20Is in June. The 28-year-old followed it up by leading India to a 2-0 series win in Ireland before answering any lingering doubts about his all-round ability with a blockbuster performance in the first T20I against England – scoring 51 of 33 and picking four for 33 - become the first Indian to achieve this double. Pandya is coming off a successful T20I series in West Indies, where he picked two wickets in four matches at six runs an over and scored a fiery 16-ball 28 in the final match.  

Pandya in T20Is since the end of T20 World Cup 2021

Batting Innings Runs Average Strike Rate Highest Score 100s/50s
13 316 35.11 147.66 51 0/1
Bowling Innings Wickets Average Strike Rate Best Bowling Economy Rate
12 8 32.75 22.5 4/33 8.73

Yuzvendra Chahal

After winning the IPL 2022 Purple Cap race with 27 wickets in 17 matches, Yuzvendra Chahal has cemented his place as India’s frontline spinner in white-ball cricket.

After winning the IPL 2022 Purple Cap race with 27 wickets in 17 matches, Yuzvendra Chahal has cemented his place as India’s frontline spinner in white-ball cricket. | Photo Credit: AP

After winning the IPL 2022 Purple Cap with 27 wickets in 17 matches, Yuzvendra Chahal has cemented his place as India’s frontline spinner in white-ball cricket. He has picked 11 wickets in seven matches at an economy rate of 7.34 in T20Is since the end of IPL 2022. While he struggled in the first two matches against South Africa, going at 12.5 runs an over while scalping just one wicket, Chahal bounced with match-winning performances of three for 20 and two for 21 to help India level the series. Following a successful tour of England, Chahal was rested for the T20Is in West Indies but proved his mettle in the ODI leg of the tour, picking seven wickets in three matches. 

Chahal in T20Is since the end of T20 World Cup 2021

Bowling Innings Wickets Average Strike Rate Best Bowling Economy Rate
12 16 18.62 15.8 3/20 7.06

Dinesh Karthik

Dinesh Karthik’s stellar IPL 2022 run granted the 37-year-old a spot in the Indian T20I setup after three years.

Dinesh Karthik’s stellar IPL 2022 run granted the 37-year-old a spot in the Indian T20I setup after three years. | Photo Credit: AFP

Dinesh Karthik’s stellar IPL 2022 run granted the 37-year-old a spot in the Indian T20I setup after three years. Karthik, drafted into the team as a specialist finisher, impressed in his second inning since his comeback with a 21-ball unbeaten 30 against South Africa, albeit in a losing cause. He then grabbed the headlines with a 28-ball half-century in the fourth T20I that made him the oldest Indian to reach the 50-run mark in the shortest format. His next inning of note was an unbeaten 19-ball 41 against West Indies in the first T20I but he failed to make a mark in the following four games, scoring just 25 runs at a poor strike rate of 80.64. However, with game time under this belt – Karthik has featured in every T20I India has played since the end of IPL 2022 – India will bank on Karthik’s late-overs impetus to come good.  

Karthik in T20Is since the end of T20 World Cup 2021

Batting Innings Runs Average Strike Rate Highest Score 100s/50s
13 192 21.33 133.33 55 0/1

Suryakumar Yadav

Suryakumar Yadav’s ability to be a floater adds to the value he brings to the team.

Suryakumar Yadav’s ability to be a floater adds to the value he brings to the team. | Photo Credit: AFP

While Suryakumar Yadav’s form of late in ODI cricket is a bit of a concern, he remains a vital cog in the middle-order of the T20I team. His 55-ball 117 in the third T20I in Nottingham against England in July and his 44-ball 76 while opening the batting in West Indies this month – both innings were studded with breathtaking and audacious strokeplay – are testament to the role Suryakumar has played in India’s remarkable change in approach since the T20 World Cup 2021 debacle. The right-hander’s ability to be a floater adds to the value he brings but given his recent form in the shortest format, India will want to slot Suryakumar in as high as possible in the batting order and capitalise on his hard-hitting prowess.  

Suryakumar in T20Is since the end of T20 World Cup 2021

Batting Innings Runs Average Strike Rate Highest Score 100s/50s
17 522 37.28 178.15 117 1/3

Bhuvneshwar Kumar

With pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah injured and Mohammed Shami not in the squad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar will shoulder the responsibility of leading a relatively inexperienced Indian fast bowling unit. 

With pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah injured and Mohammed Shami not in the squad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar will shoulder the responsibility of leading a relatively inexperienced Indian fast bowling unit.  | Photo Credit: AFP

With pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah injured and Mohammed Shami not in the squad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar will shoulder the responsibility of leading a relatively inexperienced Indian fast bowling unit. He announced his return to form in the second T20I against South Africa in June, picking four for 13 with his sharp in-swinging deliveries. Bhuvneshwar has picked 15 wickets in 13 T20Is after IPL 2022 and has found his mojo again with the ball in the PowerPlay. The 32-year-old has picked 12 wickets in the first six overs in 2022 at a commendable economy rate of 5.48. In the recently concluded T20I series in West Indies, Bhuvneshwar took just three wickets in four matches but was economical, conceding just over seven runs an over.

Bhuvneshwar in T20Is since the end of T20 World Cup 2021

Bowling Innings Wickets Average Strike Rate Best Bowling Economy Rate
19 23 18.73 16.1 4/13 6.95
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