Cricket

Asia Cup 2022 review: Babar Azam, Avesh Khan and other players who disappointed in tournament

With the 15th edition of the Asia Cup having reached its conclusion, it's time for us to look at some of the highs and lows of the tournament. Here we look at five players who failed to live up to their expectations.

Asia Cup 2022 review: Babar Azam, Avesh Khan and other players who disappointed in tournament

Pakistan captain Babar Azam collected just 68 runs in six appearances at an average of 11.33. AP

From facing a second consecutive group-stage elimination during the match against Bangladesh to lifting the trophy after beating Pakistan in the final on Sunday, Sri Lanka scripted quite the miraculous comeback to win the Asia Cup for a sixth time.

Once a powerhouse of the sport, Sri Lanka had gone into a transition period following the retirement of greats such as Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene and had failed to replicate the kind of success that they were so used to from the late 1990s to the early 2010s. Sunday’s victory, however, will rekindle hopes of a revival in the Sri Lankan team’s fortunes.

Asia Cup Final: Sri Lanka rally like champions to send Pakistan packing in title match

With the team having finally ended an eight-year wait for a major international trophy, the Dasun Shanaka-led and Chris Silverwood-coached side will enter the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year brimming with hope and surely deserve to be counted among the contenders for the title.

Read: Mohammad Rizwan, Virat Kohli and other top performers in Asia Cup

With the 15th edition of the Asia Cup having reached its conclusion, it’s time for us to look at some of the highs and lows of the tournament. Here we look at five players who failed to live up to their expectations:

Babar Azam

A lot was expected from Pakistan skipper Babar Azam heading into the tournament. However, with just 68 runs from six outings with an average of 11.33 and a strike rate just above the 100-mark, Babar was perhaps the biggest disappointment among the star players participating in the Asia Cup.

It was almost as if the demons that had been haunting Virat Kohli for ages suddenly decided to latch on to the Pakistan captain as their new host; while Kohli would redeem himself with a maiden T20I hundred and finish with the second-most runs, Babar was reduced to a walking wicket, whose early dismissals — more often than not in the powerplay — only ended up increasing the pressure on Mohammad Rizwan and the middle-order.

Asitha Fernando

Though he did star in one of the tournament’s most thrilling finishes — and that’s saying something — with an unbeaten 10 off three balls against Bangladesh, Asitha Fernando became a liability for the Sri Lankans in his primary role as a frontline pacer.

Sri Lankan pacer Asitha Fernando was among the most expensive bowlers with an average of 56 and an economy above 11. AP

The right-arm seamer was taken to the cleaners in each of his three appearances in the tournament. The same match in which he produced the entertaining cameo with the bat saw Fernando leak 51 runs in four overs that allowed Bangladesh to set a challenging target of 184.

And while he managed to keep his economy under nine in the Super 4 clash against Afghanistan, he would end up going wicketless for 28 runs in two overs against India, at which point the team leadership had had enough of him and dropped him from the XI for the remainder of the campaign.

Avesh Khan

With pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel ruled out of the Asia Cup and senior pacer Mohammed Shami no longer part of India’s T20 plans going forward, the chance was ripe for Avesh Khan to cement his place in the Indian team heading into the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.

Avesh Khan in a file photo. AP

Avesh Khan leaked 53 runs in four overs against Hong Kong before getting ruled out of the remainder of the Asia Cup. AP

Avesh, however, leaked runs aplenty in his two appearances in the Asia Cup before getting ruled out due to ill health, his average and economy reading 36 and 12 respectively.

While he went at over nine-an-over in the opening game against Pakistan, collecting Fakhar Zaman’s wicket along the way, he ended up conceding 53 runs for a solitary wicket from four overs against minnows Hong Kong, who ended up going past the 150-mark thanks to some wayward bowling although that wasn’t enough for them to pull off an almighty upset.

Mushfiqur Rahim

With scores of 1 and 4 along with a few dropped catches that would cost his team dearly, it certainly was a tournament to forget for veteran Bangladeshi wicketkeeper-batter Mushfiqur Rahim, who ended up retiring from the format after Bangladesh got knocked out of the Asia Cup in the group stage.

Bangladesh wicketkeeper-batter Mushfiqur Rahim collected just five runs in two innings and accounted for several dropped catches. AP

Mushfiqur’s failures with the bat in both games put pressure on No 3 batter Shakib Al Hasan and the rest of the middle-order, forcing the likes of Mosaddek Hossain and Afif Hossain to step up and mount a rescue. But his most crucial errors occurred behind the stumps, as he was involved in three dropped chances that allowed Kusal Mendis to score a match-winning 60 off just 37 balls, one that came as a knockout punch for the Tigers.

Mohammad Nabi

He did a commendable job marshalling his troops in his capacity as captain as Afghanistan punched above their weight, outplaying champions Sri Lanka in the opening game of the tournament, beating Bangladesh and nearly pulling off a thrilling win against Pakistan. But when taking his individual performances, especially with the bat, Mohammad Nabi hardly delivered.

Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi accounted for just 16 runs across five games at an average of 4. AP

Nabi was decent in the 17 overs that he bowled across five games, collecting three wickets with an economy under eight (7.47). It was with the bat however that Nabi was found wanting, collecting just 16 runs in four outings — his scores reading 8, 1, 0 and 7. Nabi’s no mug with the bat, having collected 4,615 runs in international cricket along with 233 wickets, and occupies a prominent position in the Afghan middle order. And his failings with the bat is something that he will hope to redeem in the World Cup later this year.

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Updated Date: September 12, 2022 14:30:42 IST

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