One thing that Asia Cup 2018 won’t be short on is the unnoticed talent coming to the fore. A major reason behind IPL’s popularity (when it started) was down to the fact that it brought the unnoticed cream on the radar. We witnessed some of the greatest T20 performances from players we had never even heard before.
A lot of rags to riches stories happened during the course and Asia Cup 2018 will hopefully achieve the same.
This will be the 14th edition of the Asia Cup. BCCI gave a shocker when they decided to rest captain Virat Kohli for the tournament. Sri Lanka Cricket Broad gave a surprise when they announced the return of fast bowler Lasith ‘Slinga’ Malinga.
Hong Kong clinched Asia Cup berth by beating UAE in the qualifiers. This is a huge opportunity for Hong Kong players. We have made a list of 5 players to watch out for this Asia Cup 2018 –
#1 Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan has made a name for himself. A name that carries a lot of reputation. Merely 19, the teenager has gone on to become #1 in ICC T20 bowling rankings and #2 in ODIs.
The 19-year-old leggie has become a big name in cricketing world. Rashid Khan became the youngest player to captain an international side at the age of 19 years and 165 days. The Afghanistan teenage sensation became the fastest and youngest bowler to take 100 wickets in ODIs.
It will be interesting to see how far he can carry his nation in Asia Cup 2018. He is definitely the one to watch out for.
#2 Manish Pandey
When Manish Pandey’s name pops up, his knock of 114 off 73 balls is the first thing that people talk about. He will always be remembered as the 1st Indian to hit a century in IPL.
Manish Pandey’s career did not pan out as it was supposed to. He hit a century against Aussies and despite his good form, the selectors favoured other names. He did not have a good IPL 2018 either.
This is a huge opportunity for Manish Pandey to finally cement his place in India’s ODI team. He has been in a scintillating touch for India A. If that is anything to go by, we might get to see something very special this Asia Cup 2018.
#3 Fakhar Zaman
This left-handed batsman has been making all the buzz. Averaging 76.07 in ODIs, Fakhar Zaman has become an integral part of how Pakistan play. He has been in top form.
Not to forget he hit the all important century against arch rivals India in Champions Trophy final. He took the game away from India single-handedly.
Fakhar Zaman became the first Pakistani batsman to hit a double century in ODIs. He smashed the double century against Zimbabwe in the recently held tri-series. He also became the fastest player to reach 1000 international runs in ODIs.
#4 Akila Dananjaya
Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis, Sachithra Senanayake, Akila Dananjaya.. Not to forget the new chinaman bowler Lakshya Sandakan. This list is not never ending but it’s a long one.
Sri Lanka is the production hub for unorthodox bowlers.
The fast bowler Lasith Malinga got picked by the selectors for the tournament, however, it will be worth seeing how much of an impact the right arm off break bowler can make. Dananjaya took career-best figures of 6 for 29 recently against South Africa.
Let us see if he can make the opposition players dance with his seven variations.
#5 Mustafizur Rehman
The 23-years-old fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman made the headlines when he took 5 wicket haul against India not just once but twice. He picked 13 wickets in 3 matches when India toured Bangladesh in 2015.
Rahman plays with Mumbai Indians in IPL. Popularly known as Fiz, the left arm bowler is known for his off-cutters.
It wouldn’t be exaggeration if we say that Bangladesh’s Asia Cup fate depends on how Mustafizur fares in the tournament.