A score over 300 runs in an ODI or over 200 runs in a T20I seems to be ‘enough’ for a winning score, but it’s not invincible. This is especially true for the limited overs editions of the game of cricket i.e. ODI and T20I. Therefore, a team must have a razor-sharp bowling squad ready to defend and even crush the opponent’s batting strategy.
Indian cricket team has had the luxury of such a set of bowlers who have not only defended the score put up by the batsmen but also crushed the opponent’s batting line-up along with their morale. Asia Cup tournaments have seen the mind-blowing performances of many of the Indian bowlers.
Praveen Kumar, Virender Sehwag, Kuldeep Yadav, Anil Kumble, Venkatesh Prasad, Ravichandran Ashwin, Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev, Ravindra Jadeja, Irfan Pathan, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshaw Kumar are some of the names that come up when talking about India’s bowling performance in Asia Cup. Some of these bowlers have played in the ODI format of the tournament, whereas the others have played in both formats.
Indian Ballers in Asia Cup ODI
Kapil Dev- 15 Wickets in 7 Matches
Kapil Dev’s USP was the capability to run like a marathon runner- easy to deceive the batsmen with hidden medium speed following that run. Another feature that made him a must-have member of the bowling squad was that he, slowly and in the right line length, could swing the ball away and it would make it a challenge, if not impossible, for the right-handed batsmen to face his bowling.
Kapil Dev played in the Asia Cup from 1984 to 1991- at the very beginning years of the tournament. This right-arm fast-medium bowler may not have been as great as his contemporary Imran Khan, but he was the highest wicket-taker in the 1990/91 edition of the tournament where he picked up 9 wickets in 3 matches only!
Sachin Tendulkar – 17 Wickets in 23 Matches
If there is one man without whom the story of Indian Cricket will always be incomplete- that man without a second thought is- Sachin Tendulkar. We all know how magnificent and invincible he was with the bat. But his bowling prowess cannot be ignored either. He has always been one of the most game-changing bowlers for India.
Sachin bowled in right-arm medium/leg-break/off-break style. He was a medium-paced bowler which is always a super weapon whenever the opposition’s run-scoring needs to be kept in check. Whenever it was crucial to break a partnership or take quick wickets, Sachin was the answer to the captain’s call, for the team’s needs.
Venkatesh Prasad – 13 Wickets in 7 Matches
Venkatesh Prasad was a gem to the team not only because he balled at a slower pace than the usual pacers, but also because he was unpredictable and deceptive. This right arm medium bowler could move the ball from both sides. His talent has always been helpful for him to beat the unfavorable, even aggressive, playing conditions abroad which was not the case for many other Indian bowlers.
His performance in his Asia Cup career can speak for itself. Surely, he was a great weapon for the team with match-winning performances. He picked up 7 wickets in only 4 matches in the 1997 edition of the tournament- it was the highest number of wickets taken by a bowler that year in the Asia Cup!
Indian Bowlers in Asia Cup of Both Formats
Here is a list of Indian Bowlers in Asia Cup for both formats:
Ravichandran Ashwin – 14 Wickets in 7 Matches
Talk about a strategy to keep the opponent batsmen on the edge at all times with one bowler in your squad and Ravichandran Ashwin’s name is sure to come up. He was more sought after in the shorter formats because of his smart bowling techniques and accuracy. Ashwin preferred to ball in the dry and dusty condition of the pitch because it suited his off-spin bowling style.
To sum up his bowling charisma in the Asia Cup one incident needs to be mentioned, when the former Bangladesh Captain Mashrafee Mortuza said upon losing against India in Asia Cup 2016, ‘We even changed our batting order keeping Ashwin in mind; to allow a left-right combination going’.
Irfan Pathan – 22 Wickets in 12 Matches
Ifran Pathan picked up the highest number of wickets in Asia Cup 2004- 14 wickets in just 6 matches! It was not very long since he joined the world of international cricket when he was playing in the Asia Cup in 2004 and yet, he was considered as one of the most important players for his excellent swing bowling.
In a match against Pakistan in that tournament, when all his team members were giving away easy runs to the Pakistani batsmen, he presented a different show. Although his bowling prowess did not make India win the match he picked up 3 wickets at an economic run rate of only 5.20.
Ravindra Jadeja – 22 Wickets in 16 Matches (incl. 2023)
Ravindra Jadeja balled a wonderful spell of 10 overs taking 3 valuable wickets at the expense of just 40 runs and made India win the match against Nepal in Asia Cup 2023! This performance also made him the highest wicket-taker of India in the Asia Cup along with former pacer Irfan Pathan. Jadeja’s bowling supremacy lies in his accuracy of line & length. He has always been a key component in Team India’s match-winning strategies because of his habit of picking up quick wickets.
Bhuvneshwar Khumar – is another must-be-mentioned name in this list who happens to be the highest wicket-taker of the 2022 edition of the Asia Cup. He picked up 11 wickets in just 5 matches!! And, it is even more noteworthy because in that year, India failed to reach the final and had a very bad tournament overall.
In the Asia Cup, Indian bowlers have shone a lot of times; however, their light was dimmed by the not-so-desirable performance of the batsmen or fielders on many occasions. But every time a captain needed to pick up some crucial wicket or break a partnership, they found support from bowlers like Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Irfan Pathan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and the like.