The skies are gray and heavy, like a wet blanket that will soon be thrown over the whole series. The field is so full of plants that animals that live in the woods have moved in. The outfield is wet, and sometimes a cold drizzle falls on biting winds. And while the local bowlers, who are all big and tall, are nimble and strong in their warm-up overs on the practice pitches, the Sri Lankan batters, who are covered in wool sweaters, face throwdowns and look like they are about to be sacrificed on an altar of seam bowling.
Get the coin. Put Sri Lanka in. Watch the ball jump gleefully off the edges of the bats and into the hands of the slip cordon as batter after batter falls like marionettes, the scoreboard showing 45-3, then 67-5, and a few swipes at the end pushing the total just over 100. Here are the usual parts of Sri Lanka’s day one story on a ground like Hagley Oval.
When they were here before, they didn’t have to bat first, but they were still out after 138 runs. The last time, they had players like Kumar Sangakkara on their team, but they still lost by 104 runs. Unless Sri Lanka pulls off a near-miracle in the second innings, which they do from time to time, these are game-changing messes. (Then New Zealand will go up to bat and put on half a million for six while smiling politely, which will only show how bad they were before.)
Then this happened. Four years after the last time they played a Test in New Zealand, where they were beaten by 423 runs at this same site, they had an amazing day of batting. Of defensive play that was mostly okay and technique that was pretty good. Had Sri Lanka’s batters done the work to figure out where their off stump was before they started a Test on foreign soil? Any Sri Lanka fan should feel a tear of pure pride just thinking about it.
Kusal Mendis, who may have been the best player in the XI, took the lead. The most important part of his 87 out of 83 was how he judged length on a surface that was a bit bumpy. When it was on a good length, he defended close to his body, almost always with soft hands, so that when the ball came in and took the edge, it bounced short of the slips. Most of the time, though, he defended inside the line, mostly using his bat to block balls that could hit him in front of the wickets or get past him to the wickets.
When New Zealand’s bowlers bowled fuller and tried hard to get an edge that could be caught, Mendis gave his all to his front-foot strokes, sometimes driving it with authority, other times sending it squirting off the face of the bat through backward point, and other times flicking it deliciously off his pads.
He got 50 runs off of 40 balls, but New Zealand’s bowlers didn’t have a great morning. 44 of those runs came from fours. He and Dimuth Karunaratne, who was just as steady but less aggressive against balls that could be hit, put together a 137-run partnership at the second wicket that was the key to Sri Lanka’s progress on day one. They would get out in consecutive overs, but when they did, they were often replaced by better batsmen.
Angelo Mathews waited for the shorter balls and scored 38 of his 47 runs through the leg side. He also hit a couple of fours off his pads when the ball was close to him. Dinesh Chandimal liked to hit the ball to the off side, and he did so six times. As Dhananjaya de Silva batted with Kasun Rajitha near the end of the day, he made boundaries whenever he could.
Their scoring areas were different, but almost all of Sri Lanka’s top seven batters covered the stumps, didn’t rush at balls until they were set, didn’t mind when deliveries beat their bats, and didn’t chase seaming balls outside their stumps. Even when bowled at (mostly by Tim Southee and Matt Henry), they didn’t give up, which is something they often do when the ball is turning.
Given Sri Lanka’s long tail and lack of experience in the field, which New Zealand can easily take advantage of, 305 for 6 is not a great first-day score. It is possible that New Zealand will win the match. But given the situation, Sri Lanka were good enough. And it’s not often that you can say that about Sri Lanka on the first day of a match in New Zealand.
KL Rahul’s Fitness Update: Asia Cup Anticipation
Indian cricket player KL Rahul doing exercise
Get the latest KL Rahul Fitness Update as the Asia Cup draws near. With the tournament on the horizon, all eyes are on KL Rahul and his efforts to enhance his physical condition. This anticipation adds an extra layer of excitement to the upcoming Asia Cup, as fans eagerly await his progress and contributions on the field.
Unveiling the Remarkable Strides
“KL’s journey within our conditioning camp has yielded remarkable strides,” Dravid affirmed during an engaging conversation in Alur on a Tuesday. He further elaborated on Rahul’s intensive training regimen, highlighting the significant advancements achieved in alignment with the team’s envisioned trajectory. However, it’s important to underscore that Rahul’s participation will be limited to the earlier part of the tour, excluding the segment taking place in Kandy.
Amid this cricketing expedition, the responsibility of overseeing Rahul’s well-being in the upcoming days rests firmly on the shoulders of the National Cricket Academy (NCA). A comprehensive reassessment of his physical state is scheduled for September 4—a critical juncture that will shape the course of action moving forward. Encouragingly, Rahul’s journey so far is indicative of a promising future, marked by substantial progress and commendable breakthroughs.
Navigating Injury Setbacks and Selection Strategy
The meticulous composition of the Asia Cup team on August 21 took into careful consideration KL Rahul’s state of health. Ajit Agarkar, the discerning chairman of selectors, disclosed that Rahul had encountered a “minor niggle” after a complete recovery from a thigh injury sustained during the IPL 2023 season. While the medical team at the NCA expressed contentment with Rahul’s batting workload, concerns surfaced regarding his wicketkeeping prowess, particularly after he expressed fatigue following practice games.
Mastering the Art of Batting: Rahul’s Regimen
Intriguingly, Rahul’s batting prowess has showcased resilience during his practice sessions at the Alur nets. On the final day of India’s intensive six-day training camp, Rahul dedicated nearly 35 minutes to the crease, confronting an array of bowlers encompassing both pace and spin. While he refrained from partaking in bowling drills, his immersive practice was apparent.
Rahul’s training routine unveiled a multifaceted approach, with a special emphasis on handling spin bowling. Positioned as the No. 5 batsman, he skillfully employed footwork to counter leg spin, demonstrating meticulous shot selection. Moreover, his adaptability shone through as he engaged in full-blooded sweeps against the spin duo of R Sai Kishore and Manav Suthar, both known for their left-arm spin expertise.
Starting to feel like me again 🏃♂️🏟️ pic.twitter.com/8cECI7oRDZ— K L Rahul (@klrahul) July 11, 2023
Strategizing for Excellence
As Rahul’s training regimen progressed, he navigated to the second net—a space dedicated to facing the new ball delivered by the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Prasidh Krishna. His unwavering attention was directed towards aligning his stance with the bounce, honing his ability to play straight, and judiciously utilizing pace to manipulate the trajectory of the ball. A post-session interaction with Coach Dravid and Virat Kohli underscored Rahul’s commitment to refining his skills.
Balancing Act: Skill Development and Preservation
Despite his fervent dedication, Rahul’s training routine has been carefully curated to prevent undue physical strain. The team management, vigilant about his well-being, has ensured that his wicketkeeping drills strike the right balance between intensity and preservation. His sessions, particularly those focused on lateral movement and spin, are calibrated to foster growth without compromising his physical resilience.
Rahul’s proactive participation extended to meaningful interactions with fellow cricketer Rishabh Pant. The duo shared insights and engaged in rehab and fitness drills alongside the team, underscoring the collaborative spirit within the Indian cricket fraternity.
A Glimpse of Squad Dynamics
As the cricketing spectacle approaches, India’s Asia Cup contingent boasts the presence of wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan. Additionally, Sanju Samson has been designated as the team’s travelling substitute, poised to step in when needed.
In Conclusion: The Path Ahead
In conclusion, KL Rahul fitness update and contribute significantly to the upcoming stages of the Asia Cup resonates as a central narrative. His ongoing progress, meticulously overseen by the NCA physiotherapy team, holds the promise of an impactful return to the field. The cricketing community eagerly anticipates his presence in the Super 4s phase, envisioning his role as a cornerstone in India’s pursuit of glory.
Ashwin’s Insight : Cricket’s Middle-Order Revolution
Ashwin doesn’t think India has a problem at No.4 or No.5 now that Dhoni and Yuvraj have left the team. He said that there is no question about India’s opening order.
India’s middle-order in ODIs is always a topic of discussion. When they lost in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup, a big reason was that they didn’t have a good No. 4. Since Yuvraj Singh’s last ODI on June 30, 2017, India has tried more than 10 players in that position, but captain Rohit Sharma says they still haven’t found the right fit. The No. 5 spot is just the same. Even though the way teams think about batting in ODIs is changing quickly, flexible batting line-ups are now the rule. However, not having a bankable middle order has hurt many times. In the last couple of years, however, Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul seem to have helped India find the right mix.
Ravichandran Ashwin says that if both Iyer and Rahul are ready to play, there should be no question about India’s No. 4 and No. 5 in the Asia Cup and World Cup. He is correct. Rahul and Iyer have the best numbers of any middle-order openers India has tried since the 2019 World Cup.
Ashwin even said that Rahul, who has scored 742 runs at a remarkable average of 53 and a striking strike rate of 99.33 since taking on the new role of keeping wickets and batting at No.5, has filled the middle-order spot with “expertise” since MS Dhoni and Yuvraj retired.
“India had been looking for a candidate for Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni since they left the team. Rahul has done a good job in that role. He will always bat at No. 5 and keep wickets for us,” Ashwin wrote on his YouTube account.
Ashwin, who didn’t make it to the Asia Cup, praised Rahul for taking over as keeper-batsman after Rishabh Pant got hurt.
“Before Pant got hurt, Rahul was next in line. Now that Pant is out, Ishan Kishan is the second goal, and he has jumped at the chance. Rahul has a minor injury, but he should be fine for the first game. If he isn’t, we have a travelling team of 18 people in Sanju Samson,” Ashwin said.
“India’s No.4 should not be up for debate”: Ashwin
Shreyas Iyer is similar. Iyer got 805 runs before he hurt his back again and again. His average was 47.35, and his strike rate was 94.37. The Mumbai right-hander’s ability to hit big shots against all types of spinners makes him an ideal No.4 in subcontinent conditions. He also has a double game. Iyer has shown that he can handle the pressure if a couple of wickets fall early and then use it to his advantage. If he comes in to bat after a good start, he can beat the spinners right away.
“Shreyas Iyer is just as important to this team as KL Rahul. He is a steady No.4 for India and one of their best players against spin. Whenever he has played at 4, he has been a key part of their success. “If he is fully fit to play, there shouldn’t be any debate about the No. 4 spot,” Ashwin said on his YouTube account when talking about India’s Asia Cup team.
Ajit Agarkar, the head of selectors for the BCCI, put to rest any doubts about Iyer’s health. He also said that Rahul has a new injury and might not play in India’s Asia Cup opener against Pakistan. Rahul and Iyer’s good health will be the most important thing for India in the Asia Cup and World Cup, not where they play in the XI. Ashwin has said that if Rahul and Iyer are both healthy, they will play at No. 4 and No. 5 respectively.
Asia Cup 2023:India’s Squad,Contenders & Captaincy
India’s 2023 Asia Cup Squad
September marks the start of the next Asia Cup competition. The Asian Cricket Council oversees this prestigious competition. There had been talk of Pakistan hosting the competition, but now it appears that plans have changed. When the ACC announces the final host and schedule, that will be it. There will be 13 games played in this major competition, according to the data.
Many cricket followers can’t wait for this massive ACC-run competition. Cricket fans in India are eager to learn about their team’s Asia Cup 2023 roster. The team for the forthcoming competition has not been announced as of yet.
Nonetheless, the following players will likely be included in the Indian squad for the upcoming Asia Cup 2023: KL Rahul, Venkatesh Iyer, Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Yuzvendra Chahal, Suryakumar Yadav, Virat Kohli, Ishan Kishan, Arshdeep Singh, Ruturaj Gaikwad, etc.
List of 2023 Asia Cup Participants
Six teams will compete in the 2023 Asia Cup, according to reports. There will be one-day matches in this competition. Sri Lanka won this prestigious competition in 2022 and is the current holder of the title.
The roster of participating players in the Asia Cup will be made public shortly.
1. Indian Squad: KL Rahul, Ravichandran Ashwin, Suryakumar Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Hardik Pandya, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Kuldeep Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, etc. The exact roster will be described in greater depth in the near future.
2. Pakistan Squad: Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir, Babar Azam, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Rizwan, Khushdil Shah, Naseem Shah, Iftikhar Ahmed, etc. are all members of the Pakistan Squad. The exact roster will be described in greater depth in the near future.
3.Bangladesh Squad: Mohammad Saifuddin, Ebadot Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan, Nasum Ahmed, Parvez Hossain Emon, Anamul Haque, Mahedi Hasan, Mehidy Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah, Mohammad Naim, Mushfiqur Rahim, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Sabbir Rahman, Afif Hossain, etc. The exact roster will be described in greater depth in the near future.
4.Afghanistan Squad : Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Nabi, Fareed Ahmad, Usman Ghani, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Noor Ahmad, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Karim Janat, Rashid Khan, Azmatullah Omarzai, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Samiullah Shinwari, Najibullah Zadran, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Ibrahim, Zadran, Afsar Zazai. Soon, we shall get more specifics about the actual team.
5.Sri Lanka Squad : Asitha Fernando, Nuwanidu Fernando, Danushka Gunathilaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Ashen Bandara, Praveen Jayawickrama, Chamika Karunaratne, Pramod Madushan, Dilshan, Madushanka, Kusal Mendis, Pathum Nissanka, Matheesha Pathirana, Dasun Shanaka, Mahesh Theekshana, Nuwan Thushara, Jeffrey Vandersay, etc. The exact roster will be described in greater depth in the near future.
6.Nepal Squad : Aarif Sheikh and Aasif Sheikh, Dipendra Singh Airee and Sompal Kami and Lalit Rajbanshi and Sandeep Lamichhane and Karna KC and Gulsan Jha and Rohit Paudel and Bhim Sharki and so on. The exact roster will be described in greater depth in the near future.
Schedule for the 2023 Asia Cup
The ACC will soon announce the dates of the upcoming matches. In September, you may watch this fascinating and important competition. Hong Kong qualified for the Asia Cup in the previous tournament. Nepal, however, beat out the United Arab Emirates in the ACC Men’s Premier Cup to earn entry to this year’s tournament.
To see how well this young team does in such a major competition would be thrilling. This tournament features a lot of big names and big players. The 2019 Asia Cup will include 13 total games between the six participating teams (split into two groups). They’ll be competing for the title of Asia Cup 2023 champion.
2023 India Asia Cup Team Captain
There has been no announcement made regarding who will lead the Indian team at the 2023 Asia Cup. However, Rohit Sharma is expected to lead the Indian team at the upcoming Asia Cup in 2023. In the ongoing WCC Finals, India is being captained by Rohit Sharma.
He is undoubtedly a top-tier cricket player. As a result, many people expect Rohit Sharma to lead the Indian team at the 2023 Asia Cup. When India last competed in the ACC event, Rohit led the team as captain.