Why I feel; the Greens will overcome the finalists of last year’s World Cup in the traditional brief sub continental rivalry which is held after every 2 years. The 2012 Asia Cup will belong to the Greens because:-
1) Their record for tournaments in Bangladesh is exceptional:-
2000 = Asia Cup winners in Bangladesh
2004 = Under 19 World Cup winners in Bangladesh
2008 = Kitply Tri Series Winners in Bangladesh
2) Easy opening fixture against Bangladesh to ease their way into the tournament because against the Tigers they possess a 28-1 record in their favour. Therefore, surely they will win this fixture with a bonus point too and therefore even if they lose the next one against Sri Lanka 3 days later, they will still stand a chance of getting it right against India and still qualifying for the final of the 7 match tournament. Pakistan also won 5 of their 6 ODIs against Sri Lanka last year so will be confident of getting the better of them which means they would have qualified for the final even before their tussle against India on the 18th.
3) Fatigue may come into play for the others. India & Sri Lanka have both been completing a lengthy travelling experience down under where they have been competing in a heavily scheduled tour. Moreover, the conditions they were up against there were completely different for those that may argue that the more matches they have played down under gives them an added advantage of such coming into the 11th Asia Cup.
4) Pak recently toured in Bangladesh at the back end of 2011 & won all 6 matches. Some of the current squad which has been picked for the Asia Cup also have been participating in the BPL so they will have greater familiarisation of the conditions.
5) Misbah ul Haq is due to win a tournament. Across all forms of the game the dependable leader of men has won 15 in 18 series as captain. Surely something is building towards a major tournament win in order to strengthen his CV even further which will be the icing on the cake to that close to impeccable captaincy record.
6) The spirits and stability in the camp is higher than the others, yes, it is strange to be associating this with Pakistan, but that it is. Pakistan have been winning close to everything and have been free from controversies. In the Indian camp there are rumours of disputes happening and 2 camps developing. India have been down and out since lifting the World Cup in Mumbai on April 2nd. Sri Lanka have had changes in personnel. The Islanders have lost all of their last 4 ODI series. Pakistan on the other hand come into this series having won 7 of their last 10 ODI series since the Asia Cup was last held. Their recent ODI failures should not be looked upon too highly as it is a common feature to see sides lose an ODI series when it proceeds a landmark test series triumph. There is bound to be an air of complacency which wouldn’t have happened had the ODI series been played before the tests.
7) Misbah has previously captained against India in an Asia Cup fixture with Pakistan chasing over 300 to win at the National Stadium in Karachi. It was the Younis-Misbah show for the 4th wicket which got Pakistan home well in time. These past memories will be put him in good stead that it can be done against them. The captain has to lead from the front & has taken a liking to the Indians in the past with his 2 marathon test centuries in 2007, unbeaten 70 as stand in captain in 2008, quick fire innings down the order in the Kitply tri series final in 2008 & his heroics in the first India-Pakistan Twenty20 match where Misbah enabled Pakistan to salvage a tie from an improbable position to go along with a few List A centuries in 2004 against India “A” who at the time were made up of some players who are in the current Indian one day side. Misbah has experienced plenty of individual success against India.
For The Record Pak’s record in ODIs since the last Asia Cup
Lost 3-2 vs. England 2010
Lost 3-2 vs. South Africa 2010
Won 3-2 vs. New Zealand 2011
World Cup: 6/8 wins, topped group A & deserved semi finalists 2011
Won 3-2 vs. West Indies 2011
Won 2-0 vs. Ireland 2011
Won 3-0 vs. Zimbabwe 2011
Won 4-1 vs. Sri Lanka 2011
Won 3-0 vs. Bangladesh 2011
Won 1-0 vs. Afghanistan 2011
Lost 4-0 vs. England 211