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Probuddha Bhattacharjee ∙ Aug 24 2022, 10:20 AM

Asia Cup 2022: Team Analysis - Pakistan


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The Asia Cup 2022 will be the tournament for the Asian teams to prepare for the T20 World Cup scheduled later this year in Australia. Each team will also look to win the trophy and add a feather to their throne. 

One of the prime contenders for the 15th edition of the tournament is Pakistan. They have won the title two times and will surely look to better the numbers. The last time Pakistan won an Asia Cup was in 2012 and it was in 2014 when they were in the finals for the last time. 

So, can Pakistan lift the title after 10 years?

To find the answer, first of all, we need to take a look at the squad of the Pakistan team for the tournament. 

Pakistan’s squad for Asia Cup

Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan,Naseem Shah,  Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir, Mohammad Hasnain, Hasan Ali

The squad looks like a good mixture of youth and experience. But further analysis of the team might give us a better idea of the chances of the team in the tournament.

Strengths

A solid top order

The presence of the likes of Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, and Fakhar Zaman in the team gives the top order a great solidity. The fact that all these three batters can adapt themselves to the playing style of the shortest format of the game very easily adds to their strength. A look at their career strike rates will give us an idea about it. 


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A talented crop of pace bowlers

The presence of Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Sahnawaz Dahani, Naseem Shah makes the Pakistani pace bowling look very potent and lethal. Yes, they might be missing the services of Shaheen Afridi in the tournament, but they have a great pool of players to make up for it. It will be a feast to the eyes of a cricketing fan when the Pakistani bowlers take the field in the Asia Cup. 

Impeccable record in UAE

The Pakistan team has a great record in the the United Arab Emirates. In the last three years they have been nearly invincible. 

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Weakness

Fragile middle order

While the top order looks settled for the Pakistani team, the weak link for them lies in the middle order. The squad that is going into the Asia Cup lacks experienced players in the middle order. The biggest problem seems to be the absence of players who can hold the innings together if the top order fails to fire big.

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The team lacking playing time

After the 2021 T20 World Cup the Pakistan team have not played enough international T20 matches. The lack of in-game time might cause problems with the execution of plans by the team in tough and crunch situations. 

The fact that most of the matches that they played were against teams like Bangladesh and West Indies also brings out the fact that the players might not have been tested enough.

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Opportunities

Shadab Khan, the all-purpose player

Shadab Khan has already proved himself as a bowler in the international format. But for the upcoming Asia Cup Pakistan has shown added trust on his batting and might be using him as a floater in the middle order . This is the result of Shadab’s performances with the bat in the latest PSL season. 

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Threats

Naseem Shah and Shahnawaz Dahani’s inexperience

In absence of Shaheen, the Pakistani team will be depending on the likes of Naseem Shah and Shahnawaz Dahani in the case of their bowling efforts. But the experience of these two players in the case of international game time in the shortest format of the game is not much. This might haunt Pakistan during the tournament in pressure situations. 

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Strongest XI

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Also Read: Asia Cup 2022: An analytical dive into team India