Positives for India: India oozed consistency throughout their successful Asia Cup campaign and answered a number of questions about their lineup

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India came into the Asia Cup with a number of questions about the makeup of their team. The preceding tour of the West Indies had seen a number of lineup changes, particularly in the batting order, which led to doubts over whether the team management knows who is going to occupy positions in the World Cup next month but at the Asia Cup, India were largely consistent with their teams. When changes were made, it was only due to injury or clearly to give players game time as was the case in the dead rubber game against Bangladesh, which was also the only match India lost throughout their campaign.

It all came to a rather sensational conclusion with India decimating a Sri Lankan side who had lost just one of their last 15 ODI matches before the final. While there were instances of fielding gaffes and batting collapses, the fact is that India managed to bounce back from almost all tricky situations they found themselves and won their first major trophy since the 2018 Asia Cup. Apart from the confidence that comes with lifting a trophy just before the World Cup, here five other positives for India to take away from winning the 2023 Asia Cup title.

1. Kuldeep Yadav (positives for India)

It has been clear all year long that India were eyeing Kuldeep Yadav as their lead spinner going into the World Cup. Kuldeep’s appearances with the Indian team had seen a sharp decline since the 2019 World Cup – he played just 17 ODIs in 2020, 2021 and 2022 but this year alone, he has played 16 matches. He has answered that faith by having one of the most productive years in his ODI career, taking 31 wickets at an average of 15.51.

Kuldeep is tied with Sri Lanka’s Mahesh Theekshana for most wickets this year in ODI cricket among full-member countries and, more importantly, teams who have qualified for the World Cup. He took nine wickets at an average of 11.44 in the Asia Cup and won the player of the tournament award for his efforts. Five of those wickets came in a magical spell in the Super Four clash against Pakistan which helped India scamper to a 228-run win over their arch-rivals.

Ishan Kishan,Jasprit Bumrah and KL Rahul’s recoveries, Mohammed Siraj, are also positive signs.

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Ruthless efficiency

India, along with England, were seen as the favourites to win the 2019 World Cup largely due to the fact that they had been ruthlessly efficient in bilateral ODIs in the run-up to that tournament. The best example is possibly the final itself, Sri Lanka were tottering at 12/5 at the end of Siraj’s four-wicket over and captain Rohit Sharma never took his foot off the pedal.

He kept Siraj at one end and sent in Bumrah and later Hardik Pandya from the other, with there being just one over of spin in that innings from Kuldeep. Once Sri Lanka were all out for 50, Kishan opened the innings with Shubman Gill and the pair chased it down in 6.1 overs. Gill and Rohit put up aggressive and succesfull opening stands throughout the tournament while Kohli and Rahul’s accelaration in their partnership against Pakistan was another example.

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