The 2022 Asia Cup will start on August 27. Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson offered several significant predictions in the most recent ICC Review, including who he thinks will win, why Virat Kohli is ready to regain his form, and whether Pakistan can defeat India once more.
The event will start on August 27 in the United Arab Emirates, and as it will be played under the T20I format this year, there will be a lot of interest in it as the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 approaches.
Who will win the Asia Cup 2022?
India and Pakistan are two of the many top candidates, but Watson selected India as the winner of the competition.
They have triumphed with a new strategy under captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid, winning 19 of the 24 T20 Internationals since the conclusion of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup last year.
“My predicted winner is India,” Watson told Sanjana Ganesan on The ICC Review. They’re so strong and depending on what the conditions are, they can just adapt to conditions. So I think India.”
Who can run them close? Watson was quick to pick arch-rivals Pakistan, and even went so far as to say the winner of the India-Pakistan clash – on 28 August – would go on to win the tournament. Cricket fans can book the India vs Pakistan T20 World Cup Tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.
“That first game is going to be very special to watch because Pakistan have full belief now that they can beat this Indian team,” said Watson. “I think, really, whoever wins that game is going to go on and win the Asia Cup.
“[But] I’ve just got a feeling India [will win the tournament]. They’ve got so much firepower all the way through their batting order, so it’s going to be hard to be able to contain them.”
Can Pakistan pull one over India again?
Watson would not completely discount out Pakistan’s chances, though, particularly in their group stage matchup against India, which will be their first meeting since the T20 World Cup 2021, when Pakistan won their first World Cup matchup against their longtime foes.
“I’m sitting on the fence a little bit!” Watson said with a laugh. “But I think Pakistan have a chance to win that game because of the confidence they’d have got out of winning for the first time in a long time against India.
“Their confidence is going to be flying high. India are hard to contain, especially their batting in particular. But Pakistan, and as I’ve always known playing against them, when their confidence is high, they’re nearly unstoppable. And their confidence is high now that they know they can beat India in a big tournament.”
Can Virat Kohli return to form in the Asia Cup?
At the Asia Cup, India’s standout player Virat Kohli will draw a lot of attention. The experienced batsman has recently struggled with his form, and his involvement at the Asia Cup would be his first for India in more than a month.
Watson mirrored Ricky Ponting’s views when it came to Kohli, stating that the former India skipper is “way too good to not just get back into that groove again”. And the month off, Watson said, made it all the more likely that fans would see the best of Kohli again at the tournament.
“Having time off for him certainly, would [help him] just be able to regenerate mentally, physically, just be able to get away from the game of cricket,” said Watson.
“You could just see that his energy was a bit sapped, even during the IPL. You could tell, no matter how much he tried – he was always up and about, but you could see the light was just out a tiny bit.”
This year, Kohli has only participated in 16 matches for India, including just four T20 internationals, the last of which was in July against England. Watson believes, though, that Kohli will remain fresh for the Asia Cup throughout the month-long break.
“This month that he’s had off cricket will make sure that that light’s shining very bright going into this Asia Cup, knowing there’s a T20 World Cup in Australia coming up very soon as well.
“So when you’re able to have a break, and because the Indian cricketers in particular play so much cricket, for Virat to be able to have some time off, especially a month, that’s just going to regenerate everything he needs to be able to take stock of what happened, freshen up mentally and physically.
“He’s too good not to be able to find his groove. It’ll only take him a couple of balls, get into the battle again, and away he goes.”
Is an extended break always good?
Watson provided more insight into the complexities of rest and healing, stating that taking an extended break wasn’t necessarily the best course of action. In Kohli’s instance, though, he had a month off from the game and had struck the sweet spot.
“A break when you’re playing so much helps a lot,” he said. “When you’ve had a bit of time, and it’s longer than a month, then your skills can start to just fall away a little bit. So you’ll need a little bit of time to get your batting, your bowling exactly where you need to.
“But a month is just about the right time where you can have a actually break, freshen up, and feel like you don’t really lose your rhythm and skill too much.
“I found any time off pushing past six weeks, then it takes a bit of time to get in the groove again. But as an international cricketer when you’re playing all year around, you’ve got to make most of your breaks because you do need to freshen up physically and mentally to be ready to go again and take on the challenges.”
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