Asia Cup 2022: 12 Key Players to Watch in the Tournament

The second edition of the Asia Cup cricket tournament in the twenty20 format will get underway on August 27 in the UAE. The final game in Dubai on September 11 will mark the end of the 16-day Asia Cup 2022 competition. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and the winner of the qualifier tournament will compete in the main event. Let's take a look at the players who can have a significant influence on their teams during the Asia Cup 2022 competition.

12 players to keep an eye on at the 2022 Asia Cup

The Asia Cup 2022 will feature some of the top cricketers in the world competing for their respective countries. These players have the power to alter a game's scenario on their own. Here are the top 12 players to keep an eye on during the fifteenth Asian Cup of cricket.

Mustafizur Rahman

T20I bowling stats since January 2021:

M: 28 | Wkts: 33 | BBI: 4/12 | Ave: 20.75 | Econ: 7.32

Left-arm medium pacer Mustafizur Rahman will lead Bangladesh’s bowling attack in the Asia Cup 2022. So, there is an added expectation for Mustafizur to unleash his true potential during the tournament. He is a very effective pacer in Asian conditions as his cutter delivery works really well in this part of the world. Besides, Mustafizur has been Bangladesh’s most successful T20 bowler since 2021. Will he be able to live up to the hype in the upcoming competition?

Read Shakib Al Hasan: Expectations from Bangladesh’s T20 captain in Asia Cup 2022

Mohammad Nabi

T20I batting stats since January 2021:

M: 17 | Runs: 306 | HS: 43* | Ave: 27.81 | SR: 127.50

T20I bowling stats since January 2021:

M: 17 | Wkts: 11 | BBI: 2/15 | Ave: 30.09 | Econ: 8.07

Afghanistan’s veteran cricketer, Mohammad Nabi, is currently the world's No. 1 all-rounder in the T20 format. He is a genuine breakthrough bowler and a very dangerous power hitter in the middle-order. Nabi hasn’t been in his best form lately. The Afghan team wants Nabi to find his rhythm during the Asia Cup main event.

Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva

T20I batting stats since January 2021:

M: 25 | Runs: 259 | HS: 71 | Ave: 13.63 | SR: 122.16

T20I bowling stats since January 2021:

M: 25 | Wkts: 46 | BBI: 4/9 | Ave: 12.67 | Econ: 6.13

One of the exciting young talents in the world is Sri Lanka’s spin bowling all-rounder, Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva. He is the second highest wicket-taker (46) in the Twenty20 format since January 2021, with an economy rate of 6.13. This stat speaks for itself about how lethal Wanindu Hasaranga is with his leg spin. Hasaranga also has power hitting ability and can accelerate the run rates lower down the order. This highly talented Lankan has the potential to be one of the most valuable players in the tournament.

Read Asia Cup 2022: Who are favourites to lift the trophy?

Rashid Khan

T20I bowling stats since January 2021:

M: 17 | Wkts: 22 | BBI: 4/9 | Ave: 18.40 | Econ: 6.39

Arguably the best T20 bowler in the world is Afghanistan’s leg-spin wizard, Rashid Khan. He is currently the best-ranked Asian bowler and overall third in the ICC’ rankings. Rashid will definitely be one of the most important players in the upcoming fifteenth edition of the Asia Cup. If he is in his best form, Afghanistan can surprise the big teams in their quest for the final.

Suryakumar Yadav

T20I batting stats since January 2021:

M: 23 | Runs: 672 | HS: 117 | Ave: 37.33 | SR: 175.45

India’s present T20 batting sensation is middle-order batter Suryakumar Yadav. He is in the second position in the ICC’s T20 batting rankings and is only 13 rating points shy of No. 1 Babar Azam. Suryakumar Yadav will be a vital player for the Indian side to construct important partnerships in the innings. He is one of the favourites to be the leading run scorer of the tournament.

Shaheen Shah Afridi

T20I bowling stats since January 2021:

M: 22 | Wkts: 25 | BBI: 3/26 | Ave: 24.80 | Econ: 7.73

Shaheen Shah Afridi, Pakistan's left-arm pacer, is one of the top bowlers in the world right now. His ability to give early breakthroughs will be crucial for the Pakistan team during the competition. Shaheen will lead the Pakistan bowling attack during the competition. A lot will depend on Afridi in the case of Pakistan’s chances in the 2022 Asia Cup competition.

Read Asia Cup 2022: What could Bangladesh’s squad look like?

Hardik Pandya

T20I batting stats since January 2021:

M: 24 | Runs: 446 | HS: 51 | Ave: 29.73 | SR: 139.81

T20I bowling stats since January 2021:

M: 24 | Wkts: 12 | BBI: 4/33 | Ave: 34.50 | Econ: 8.11

Hardik Pandya is probably the most effective lower middle-order batter from Asia. In other words, he is the best No. 7 batter at the moment in the sub-continent. Therefore, Hardik has a lot of importance in the Indian team as a power-hitter in the death overs. Pandya is also a very effective medium pacer, especially in the middle overs.

Mohammad Rizwan

T20I batting stats since January 2021:

M: 30 | Runs: 1349 | HS: 104* | Ave: 71.00 | SR: 134.63

Pakistan’s wicket-keeper batter Mohammad Rizwan is currently ranked no. 3 in the ICC’s batting rankings. He tops the list of most run scorers in the T20 format with 1,349 since January 2021. The Rizwan-Babar opening pair is arguably the best in the world in the Twenty20 format at the moment. The rest of the opponents will have a difficult time competing against Pakistan if this pair can get into their finest form.

Dasun Shanaka

T20I batting stats since January 2021:

M: 28 | Runs: 532 | HS: 74* | Ave: 29.55 | SR: 122.29

Pathum Nissanka is probably the most reliable batter for the Lankan side. However, the way Dasun Shanaka has batted this year is just simply outstanding. He has made 308 runs in 11 innings with a strike rate of 145.28 this year. Sri Lanka would have a better chance of winning the championship if he could maintain his strong batting performance in the forthcoming tournament.

Read Asia Cup 2022 Schedule: Groups, full fixtures, venues

Rohit Sharma

T20I batting stats since January 2021:

M: 24 | Runs: 714 | HS: 74 | Ave: 31.04 | SR: 146.31

India’s captain, Rohit Sharma, is yet to lose a series after being appointed as a permanent captain of the format earlier this year. Rohit has a good reputation as a captain and his batting can be destructive at times. If Rohit shines with the bat, then the rest of the teams will surely find it difficult to stop India. The charismatic Indian captain is more than capable of leading his team to victory on his own and is committed to bringing home the eighth Asia Cup title for his nation.

Babar Azam

T20I batting stats since January 2021:

M: 30 | Runs: 1005 | HS: 122 | Ave: 38.65 | SR: 128.51

Arguably the best batter in the world across all formats, Pakistan’s Babar Azam is currently ranked no. 1 in the ICC’s batting rankings. He is in the form of his life with the bat and can be a nightmare for the opposition during the competition. Babar’s commanding batting display could help Pakistan win this year’s Asia Cup tournament.

Shakib Al Hasan

T20I batting stats since January 2021:

M: 23 | Runs: 443 | HS: 68* | Ave: 21.09 | SR: 111.58

T20I bowling stats since January 2021:

M: 23 | Wkts: 29 | BBI: 4/9 | Ave: 17.93 | Econ: 6.29

Bangladesh’s newly appointed Twenty20 captain and world No. 2 all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will be determined to do well in the competition. Though Shakib’s recent form hasn’t been so impressive, there is no doubt about his ability as a player. Who can forget Shakib’s magnificent outing in the 2019 ICC ODI World Cup? If he can repeat that performance all through the competition, Bangladesh will have a decent chance of making it to the Asia Cup final.

Read Asia Cup 2022: SWOT Analysis of Bangladesh National Men’s T20 Cricket Squad

Bottom Line

The top teams in the subcontinent will give it their all to win the Asia Cup 2022 event. Therefore, each team's prominent players will be very important during the major event. The above mentioned players have the potential to have an impact on their teams. These renowned cricketers are also serious candidates for the player of the tournament award. In addition to them, each squad has other key players who have the potential to step up and play vital roles for their respective teams. The team with the right balance and strength in each department is likely to advance to the competition's final.

Source: United News of Bangladesh