Ashwin believes Pakistan is the team to beat in Asia Cup 2023

Indian spinner R Ashwin recently shared his thoughts on the upcoming Asia Cup 2023, terming both India and Pakistan as the favorites for the title. In a candid discussion on his YouTube channel, Ashwin particularly highlighted the strength of the Pakistan cricket team, stating that they will be “one hell of a team” if Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan continue their consistent performances.

Ashwin was full of praise for Pakistan's top-order batsmen, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan. He emphasized that consistent performances from these two could make Pakistan an “extraordinary team” that would be tough to beat in both the Asia Cup and the subsequent World Cup. “It will take some beating since Pakistan is an extraordinary team,” Ashwin noted. True to his word, Babar Azam began Asia Cup 2023 with a spectacular 151, the second-highest individual score ever made in the Asia Cup. 

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The Depth of Pakistan Squad

According to Ashwin, one of the key factors that make Pakistan a strong contender for the Asia Cup is the depth in their squad. “It is all down to their (Pakistan’s) squad depth. Pakistan has invariably developed exceptional cricketers,” he said. Ashwin feels that this depth makes them serious contenders not just for the Asia Cup but also for the World Cup.

Ashwin also touched upon the unique aspects of Pakistan's cricketing culture, such as tape-ball cricket, which has been instrumental in producing a series of incredible pacers. He also mentioned that Pakistan's batting prowess has been superior during the late 90s and 2000s.

Ashwin believes that the exposure Pakistani players have gained from various T20 leagues around the world has been a significant factor in their recent resurgence. “The exposure they have got to various (T20) leagues has been the primary reason for their re-emergence in the previous five or six years,” he said. He also pointed out the influence of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and noted that in the recent Big Bash League (BBL) drafts, there were at least 60-70 players from Pakistan.

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R Ashwin's comments underscore the high level of competition expected in the upcoming Asia Cup 2023. With both India and Pakistan being termed as favorites, the tournament promises to be a thrilling affair. However, Ashwin's special mention of Pakistan's squad depth, the consistent performances of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, and the impact of T20 leagues make it clear that Pakistan is a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming continental event. That they began the tournament with a whopping 238-run win over Nepal only highlights how good the side is.


Rohit is an experienced cricket writer based in India