August 30, 2023
CM Content Team
Asia Cup is one of the most premium cricket tournaments in the world. The first edition of the tournament was held in the UAE in 1984, and since then it is held every two years, alternating between ODIs and T20 formats. It must be noted that it is the only continental championship in cricket and the winning team gets the title of ‘Champions of Asia.’
India has been the most successful team in the tournament and is six-time champions. With the 2023 edition of the Asia Cup around the corner, starting from August 30th, the cricket fans around the world are excited for the India-Pakistan clash on September 2. While all eyes will be on the men in blue to win the cup, the other participating teams, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Nepal would bring their ‘A’ game.
In its rich history, the tournament has seen some of the best innings of all-time. And, in this blog, we take a look at the legendary batsmen of Asia Cup, their best performances and the impact it had on the game.
The God of Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar is one of the legends of the game and the greatest batter of all time. Fondly known as ‘Master Blaster,’ Sachin Tendulkar has several batting records to his name. He is all-time highest run getting in cricket, he has the maximum number of centuries in cricket, he is the first person ever to score 200 runs in an ODI international match.
It is no surprise that the great man is also the Asia Cup highest run scorer from India in the history of the tournament. Since he played his first match in the continental tournament in 1990, the has played more than 20 matches and has amassed 973 runs. Amongst his 100 centuries, he scored two tons in this bi-annual event, including his 100th Century in the 2012 edition of the cup against Bangladesh in Mirpur.
Tendulkar has been part of some of India’s greatest wins and more often than not, he played an instrumental role in the win. He has been part of the Asia Cup winning squad in 1991 and 1995. Apart from his contributions to the team with bat, throughout his playing days, he contributed to the team’s cause with ball, and tactical moves.
He is a true-blue Asia Cup legend and of the game itself!
Arguably one of the best left-handed batters to have taken the cricket field, Jayasurya is a Sri Lankan legend in every sense of the word. The original power hitter, Jayasurya is often credited for inventing the powerplay mode of game during the initial over when there are field restrictions.
A destructive batter, on his day, he had the ability to demolish any attack and throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s he would send the fielders on a leather chase. His quick scoring ability helped Sri Lanka pose big targets and chase down any total the opposition posted.
Jayasurya tasted great success in his playing career and he was miles ahead of his peers in the Asia Cup as he has the most runs in Asia Cup amongst all Sri Lankan batters. He appeared in 25 Asia Cup matches and has a tally of 1220 runs at an astonishing average of 53.04. His six centuries and three fifties in the tournament is a testament to his legend status.
The talented southpaw was also a wonderful bowler and he helped his team’s cause with left-arm spin option and picked several wickets in the tournament. He also captained the team to three Asia Cup trophies in 1997, 2004 and 2008.
They say, ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man.’ For Sri Lankan cricket team, the ever-so-graceful and elegant Kumar Sangakkara was that man. He would often come to the fore to rescue Sri Lanka from tricky situations and help the team chase and set targets.
A champion player, he was in a league of his own during his playing days. A reliable batsman and one of the best wicket keepers the game has seen, he also captained his national side for several years and established himself as a cricketing legend.
Amongst all his brilliant innings’ he has played across the world, the southpaw always brought out his best game in Asia Cup matches. He played in 24 matches in Asia Cup and scored 1075 runs in the tournament at an average of 48.86 runs per match.
The stylish left-hander hit four centuries and eight fifties in the tournament and he has been part of the Sri Lankan team that won the Asian championship three times in 2004, 2008 and 2014. He was at his best form during the 2008 edition where he scored 345 runs and was among the top run getters in the tournament.
Apart from his immense contributions to the team with the bat in his hands, he was played a vital role in his team’s success as a wicket keeper. He was brilliant against both fast bowlers and spinners and took several catches behind the wicket. For all his achievements, he deserves his spot among the legendary batsmen of Asia Cup.
When Mohamamd Yousuf made his debut for Pakistan in 1998 he was Yousuf Youhana. He came into the side at a time when the middle order of the Pakistan was packed with some of the most talented batters of the time, including Ijaz Ahmed, Inzamam-ul-Haq, and Salim Malik.
A stylish batter, he was a prolific run-getter for Pakistan and during his peak, he shouldered the Pakistan batting line-up and would often guide the team to a commanding position. His greatness lied in his ability to play equally well against both paces and spinners and he was a master of converting his starts to a big score.
Mohammad Yousuf is often termed as one of the best middle-order batsmen of Pakistan along with two greats like Inzamam and Younis khan. Amongst his many great innings for Pakistan, he is particularly remembered for is epic performance in the Asia Cup of 2000.
He scored three consecutive 50+ scores in the tournament and helped Pakistan win the title. He was also the teams highest run getter. For his brilliant performance, he was also awarded the Player of the Series award. After hanging up his boots, he took up the coaching role and helped the youngsters to perform to their fullest potential.
His contributions to the Pakistan team on and off the field make him a legend and he will be always remember for his scintillating knocks in Asia Cups.
One of the modern greats, MS Dhoni or MSD as his fans like to call him, is only the third-most popular Indian cricketer, only behind the great Sachin Tendulkar and batting sensation Virat Kohli. A once-in-a-lifetime kind of cricketer, he is known for being India’s most successful captain and being the first ever captain in the world to lead his team to all three major ICC tournaments, vis-à-vis, the T20 World Cup (won in 2007), the ODI World Cup (won in 2011), and the Champions Trophy (one in 2013). He is also credited to lead India to number one ranking in the Tests.
Coming from a humble background, he was a pure prodigy and till date he is revered by the cricketing great for his unorthodox batting technique and captaincy. Known for his cool demeanour, and ability to stay calm under pressure, Dhoni was an extraordinary leader. When you talk about highest scores of batsmen in Asia Cup, Dhoni may not find his mention here but his heroics in the tournament cannot be overlooked.
He led Team India across all sectors, and under his abled leadership, India won the Asia Cup in 2016. This year, it was a T20 event rather than ODI series. For his leadership and ability to finish games under tense situations as he has done many times in his career, he deserves a spot in the league of legendary batsmen of Asia Cup.
Known for his unwavering passion, grit and immense concentration skills, Younis Khan is one of the finest batsmen to grace the Pakistan national team. While batting, he was a treat to watch, his wristy flicks and classic drive were sublime and made bowlers look silly.
He was one of the few cricketers of his time who relied heavily on his ability to time the ball rather using brute force to score. Khan has played many memorable knocks for his team, but he will always be remembered for his exploits in Asia Cup.
By the turn of the new millennium, Younis Khan had firmly established his place in the side as one of the reliable middle-order batter. He would often play the role of anchoring the side and play a long innings. One such long innings, which also happens to be the best batting performances in Asia Cup was against Hong Kong in the 2004 edition of the tournament.
While batting first, Pakistan was in a spot of bother after losing quick wickets. But, as always, Younis Khan came to the team’s rescue and he went to score a brilliant 144 runs in just 122 balls. His innings propelled the Pakistani score to 343 and they went to win the match by 173 runs.
Asia Cup has seen some of the greatest batting talents to play the game, and these six legendary batsmen have truly shone bright in the tournament. These players are elegance personified and always performed at their very best at a crucial time. Their records, talent and contributions justify their place in the list of legendary batsmen of Asia Cup. The made their nation proud and etched their name in cricket history.
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