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Sourav Ganguly column: Pakistan and Sri Lanka put Asian cricket in a spin

Bangladesh deserve full credit for the improvement they have shown

Gulf News

Before getting into any analysis of the Asia Cup final, I would like to state that the health of Asian cricket has started to concern me. There has been a massive drop in the quality of Sri Lanka and Pakistan, who were once the powerhouses in Asian and world cricket. I know that every team goes through a rebuilding process but to see them play the way they did in this tournament is surely a worry.

The respective boards have to find a solution to this crisis, otherwise it will be no fun watching the Asia Cup.

I am not surprised that Bangladesh has made it to the final of this tournament. They have been a much better team than Sri Lanka and Pakistan and one has to give them much credit. Their cricket has moved massively in a forward direction and it was visible in their junior cricket, when they qualified for the semi-finals of the Under-19 World Cup held recently.

Junior cricket is always the sign of a developing cricket system and Bangladesh has started to produce lot of talent. I have been reading Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza’s interviews and he is sending out all the right messages. He looks calm and I think he has done good work with the team.

Bangladesh beat India last year in a 50-over, three-match series and that made the cricketing world sit up and take notice. It was definitely a confident performance by Bangladesh and they will take heart from that win, even though it was a victory in a different format. This Indian team, however, is a different Indian team. Dhoni and his boys are not only in great form but also in supreme mental state, which is showing in their game.

Bangladesh will need to be at the very top of their game to get past this Indian side. The key for Bangladesh will be how well they bat. Anything less than 160 and it will not be easy to stop this Indian batting line-up.

The pitch in this competition has been a bit different and so, I feel 160 is a par score. Anything below that could be a bit difficult to defend.

I am reading in the newspapers that they will take off some of the grass and make it a typical Dhaka pitch but then, the Indian batting will become even more dangerous.

So the pitch shouldn’t be the focus of the final. It’s all about who plays well on that particular day.

(Gameplan)

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