The Asia Cup is the biggest continental tournament in cricket and features some of the powerhouses of the world. India and Sri Lanka have over the years hogged the limelight in this tournament with both teams winning the tournaments 4 times while Pakistan have managed just one triumph.
The dominance of these two teams has meant that the players from India and Sri Lanka have been the best performers so far. While the sun has dawned on many a glittering career, which shone brightly in the Asia Cup, CricketNDTV takes a look at some of these achievers who will be back to showcase their skills in the 2010 tournament as well.
The old Lankan warhorse Sanath Jayasuriya might not be in the best of touch off late as age it seems has finally caught on, but he undoubtedly remains one of the greatest batsmen to have played the Asia Cup. A veteran of 6 Asia Cup tournaments now, the 'Matara Marauder' has tormented the bowling attacks of all his neighbours and will look to do the same when he plays this year's tournament.
With 1220 runs from 25 matches at an average of 52.04, Jayasuriya remains the top run getter in the continental tournament by far. He also has to his credit the record of scoring the highest number of centuries with a count of 6.
Sanath has shone with the ball as well taking 22 wickets for the Sri Lankans and is third in the list of all-time highest wicket takers. He aggregated 378 from 5 matches in the last edition of the Asia Cup in Pakistan in 2008 and that is also the most runs scored by a batsman in a single Asia Cup tournament.
Sachin Tendulkar has been the best batsman on show for India in the Asia Cup over the years and the 'Little Master' trails Sanath Jayasuriya in the list of all-time highest run grossers. With 799 runs from 18 innings with a healthy average of 49.93, he is the top run getter for India and the team will look forward to his contribution in this year's tournament as well so that they can win their first Asia Cup after 15 years.
Sachin will have to be at his best to negotiate the slow turning pitches in Sri Lanka. He has also picked up 17 wickets and is the joint top wicket taker for India along with Irfan Pathan.
The Sri Lankan spinner par excellence is not new to holding records as he tops the wicket taking charts in both the ODI and Test arenas. Thus it is but natural that Murali has taken the maximum number of wickets in the Asia Cup as well.
With 27 wickets from 21 matches, Murali is ahead of the pack with an average of 26.74 and a phenomenal economy rate of 3.56 runs per over.
With pressure mounting on him to take more wickets in the last few months, Muralitharan will look to make it count when he plays on home soil in this year's tournament.
The youngster has been ‘found out' on bouncy pitches, but he still remains one of the brightest hopes with the bat for India in the future. The left hander was at his devastating best the last series in Pakistan in 2008 when was just 6 runs shy of Sanath Jayasuriya's tally of 378 runs in the tournament.
Raina scored 2 centuries and 2 fifties on way to cracking 372 runs in 6 matches and is thus placed second in the most runs scored in a single Asia Cup tournament list.
The left-hander will be the mainstay of the Indian middle-order if the selectors decide to drop out of form Yuvraj Singh.
The 'Mystery spinner' created havoc in the 2008 tournament as he burst on to the international cricketing scene, picking up wickets by the dozen against the hapless Indians and Pakistanis.
Ajantha Mendis might have lost that mystery element now as batsmen have started negotiating him better, but he still remains a potent weapon for the ‘islanders' who will be playing at home this time.
Mendis singlehandedly won the Asia Cup final in 2008 as he ripped the heart out of the Indian batting order by picking up 6 wickets for 13 runs. Mendis holds the record for taking the maximum number of wickets in a single Asia Cup series by picking up 17 wickets in 2008.
The Sri Lankan skipper is one of the most talented wicket-keeper batsmen that the game has seen and his abilities both with the bat and behind the stumps have helped his team win several matches.
Although known more for his batting abilities, Sangakkara tops the tree with the maximum dismissals amongst the wicket-keepers.
Sangakkara has affected 20 dismissals in 12 matches with 14 of those being catches and six stumpings. He is far ahead of any of his contemporaries and will look to add to his tally this time too.
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