3 positives for India A despite loss to Pakistan A in Emerging Asia Cup final

Yash Dhull led from the front for India A with his stellar batting performances.
Yash Dhull led from the front for India A with his stellar batting performances.

The Pakistan A team won the Men's Emerging Teams Asia Cup 2023 final after beating India A at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday, July 23,

While the loss in the final was a combination of some bad decisions, both at the toss and on the field, it was an impressive showing from the Pakistan players against opponents with plenty of international experience.

While the disappointment of losing the final will remain, the Indian side shouldn't be disheartened by this defeat and have plenty of positives to look at. India had players at the top of both the batting and the bowling charts and also beat Pakistan quite comfortably in their group-stage meeting.

On that note, let's look at three positives for India A despite their defeat in the final.

#3 The performance of key all-rounders

The top three highest wicket-takers of the Emerging Teams Asia Cup were all Indians, and what's more, they were also all-rounders. The all-rounders are playing an increasingly important role in international cricket, and the Indian team relies a lot on the all-round abilities of Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Hardik Pandya, and Axar Patel.

The performances of batting all-rounder Nishant Sindhu and bowling all-rounders Rajvardhan Hangargekar and Manav Suthar offer encouraging signs for the future. Of the three, Nishant Sindhu finished the highest wicket-taker, picking up 11 in five games, with his 5/20 against Bangladesh crucial in getting India to the final.

Hangargekar showcased his hard-hitting ability with the bat in the recently concluded Maharashtra Premier League, and performed excellently with the ball, picking up 10 wickets in four matches.

Opener and left-arm spinner Abhishek Sharma is another all-rounder who had a stellar tournament. He scored 221 runs in five matches with the bat, picking up one wicket and keeping the run flow in check with his bowling.

#2 Yash Dhull's confident captaincy stint

Barring a sub-par final where he may have got some decisions wrong, it was a very confident and measured captaincy performance from Yash Dhull, the India A captain for the Asia Cup. The 20-year-old led the side from the front with his batting performances as well as his on-field decisions.

Before the final, India hadn't lost a single match, and in the one game they remotely seemed in trouble against Bangladesh, Yash Dhull's decision-making helped India defend a low total of 211 and secure victory.

The former India U-19 captain has a long career ahead of him and his performance as a captain in a tournament is a good sign for the future of Indian cricket.

#1 The encouraging performances from Sai Sudharsan

Sai Sudharsan had a fine tournament with the bat.
Sai Sudharsan had a fine tournament with the bat.

Sai Sudharsan, who opened the batting alongside vice-captain Abhishek Sharma, is arguably the most likely to make his India debut of all the players in the squad. He followed up his impressive performances in the IPL with solid showings in this series, making 220 runs in five matches, averaging 73.33, and scoring at a strike rate close to 100.

The southpaw finished fourth on the highest run-scorers list, one run behind Abhishek Sharma and 14 behind captain Yash Dhull. He scored a match-winning hundred in India's group-stage win over Pakistan and got the side off to brisk starts in most of the other matches.

While he held his own quite comfortably against international bowlers in the IPL, Sai Sudharsan needs to do that consistently in an international cricket setting. His temperament, wide range of shots, and maturity at the crease should see him get his national cap soon.

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