The seasoned pros are back after the bunch of greenhorns failed to hold the Indian flag high in Zimbabwe, and there could have been no better platform than the Asia Cup.
It's just the right opportunity for Dhoni and his boys to better the records. They have been receiving too much flak for their performance in the ICC World T20. The disastrous result in Zimbabwe also saw India slip down to 3rd position in the ODI rankings.
Now every series has to be taken seriously, keeping in mind that the World Cup is not too far. While key players like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina and Zaheer Khan have the opportunity to get back in shape for the busy schedule ahead, the team management will be looking at some of the younger players and prepare them accordingly.
Absence of Yuvraj Singh is disappointing, not regrettable. Any player who is not 100 % match fit, should pave way for other. But if the reasons are beyond form and fitness, then the axing is more than justifiable. However, I some what agree with Kiran More's opinion that there are more than one way to send the message across.
" 'Sit on the bench. You'll be in the reserves, we are playing somebody else but be part of the team, get your fitness right, get your act right and get disciplined also.' That would give him more encouragement. But only one player has been pointed out, and they've dropped him from the Asia Cup," More said.
Knowing Yuvraj, he'll make a strong comeback. He should and selectors and the board should make it sure that he's back soon as you don't gamble with a player like him for too long.
Coming back to Asia Cup, only top 4 teams of the continent are participating this time. And no points for guessing that the highlight of the tournament will be the India-Pakistan tie on June 19.
The archrivals last played against each other during the ICC Champions Trophy in 2009 which Pakistan won. The two countries have simmering relations for decades and it gets reflected on the cricket field. I am sure that every cricket fan would be looking forward to it.
However, both the teams are going through a rough patch and Asia Cup starts just at the right time to give them a chance to shun all off-the field troubles and get back into the groove. Fans from both the countries share their passion for the game and react in extremes to any big win or loss. The two teams would want to beat each other to heal their fans' wounds and reinstate their love and support. Result? Expect a high-fever match.
Also the Asia Cup gives all four teams to prepare for the World Cup 2011 that will be played in the Indian sub-continent. Moreover, it is a battle for the Asian supremacy.
So while the world will be gripped in the football fever, cricket fans do have some great cricket on their platter. Game on guys!