The fulcrum of India's batting, Sachin Tendulkar enters the Asia Cup amidst speculation over his retirement; something that he has chosen to shy away from commenting on during his entire 22-year career. Even at 38, he remains to be the player to watch out for at the top of the Indian order.
If his explosive batting was not proof enough of his significance in the Pakistan line-up, Shahid Afridi's spin bowling certainly is. The unpredictable leg-spinners offer enough for the batsmen to worry about in the middle of the innings, making him one of the most lethal all-rounders in the tournament.
Buoyed by the match-winning batting performance and the selectors' vision of him being a future captain, Virat Kohli enters the Asia Cup with a lot of runs behind him. Almost certain to bat at No. 3, Kohli will be India's main man with the bat. His ability to maintain his calm in tough chases is likely to play a huge role in India's campaign.
Saeed Ajmal creates as much confusion among the batsmen as he does with his words in the cricketing world. His action verified, Ajmal will look to replicate his success against England.
Mahela Jayawardena is the man for big games. Sitting at the heart of the Lankan batting, he can destroy even the best bowling attacks on his day.
Shakib Al Hasan, with his left arm spin is expected to be a deadly force on the slow and low turning pitches of Bangladesh. Also his ability with the bat gives the Bangladeshis an extra batting option.
One of the three left arm spinners in the Bangladesh team, Abdur Razzak can be a wily customer on the slow and low pitches at home. With conditions in his favour, Razzak could be a key factor in the middle overs for Bangladesh.
Misbah-ul-Haq plays the role of holding together the Pakistan middle order. Innovative strokeplay combined with raw power makes him a good stabilizer in the middle stages and an excellent finisher for Pakistan.
Arguably the best exponent of the yorker, Lasith Malinga is the core of Sri Lanka's bowling attack. His pace coupled with his unusual action make him one of the deadliest bowlers.
Kumar Sangakkara is Sri Lanka's vital cog in the batting order. Known to play blazing knocks as well as sedate innings Sangakkara is the perfect example of a technician at work.
In the absence of Zaheer Khan the onus will be on Praveen Kumar to take the new ball for India. His nagging line and length is what gives him maximum reward and his accuracy will be a great tool to go ahead with for India.
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