Asia Cup 2018: 3 secrets of success to win in UAE
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are getting ready to kick off the proceedings of the 14th edition of the Asia Cup. This is the third time that the UAE is hosting this tournament. Interestingly, in both the previous instances, India and Sri Lanka were the finalists and India ended up victorious on both occasions.
But the last time the UAE hosted the Asia Cup was way back in 1995. Since then, the UAE has become Pakistan's adopted home and they have been playing their international home games there for about 10 years now.
The pitches in the UAE are suitable for batting and are similar to the surfaces that the contestants play on at home. However, to be successful in the UAE, teams playing in the tournament must be cognizant of three critical elements that have a huge impact on the outcome of a match and develop strategies to deal with them. So, let's look at these secrets of the desert that the teams must know about:
Secret #1: The dew factor is in play
The dew factor is an important external element that affects matches in the UAE. So, the team that wins the toss should elect to field first. And the team that loses the toss must endeavour to score at least 30-40 runs more than the par score to be able to compensate for having to bowl in unfavourable bowling conditions.
Secret #2: Wrist-spinners trump finger-spinners
It is true that the pitches in the UAE are conducive to spin bowling. Along those lines, teams have added two or three spinners to their squads. But, teams must be careful when deciding what type of spinners to include in the playing XI. Finger-spinners are completely ineffective when the dew factor comes into play. Instead, wrist-spinners are better options as they primarily use their wrists to spin the ball. It's instructive to look at how Pakistan constructs its squad, given that UAE is its home-base.
They opt for four medium-fast bowlers, one wrist- spinner and a finger-spinner as the sixth bowling option. That combination is to ensure that if they bowl first, then they have the option of bowling 20 overs of spin. On the other hand, if they have to bowl second, then, given the dew factor, they have the flexibility of bowling only 10 overs of spin- with its wrist spinner.
Secret #3: High Probability of cramping
The temperatures in the UAE, during the games, will hover around the 40 to 45 degree Celsius range, for the most part. In addition, the humidity will also be in the 60%-80% range. Therefore, the onset of cramps is a major problem that teams must anticipate and prepare for. The players must be sufficiently hydrated prior to the start of play and, particularly, during the games.
The eventual winner of a tournament like the Asia Cup is often not a team with just the best-skilled players. Rather, it's often, the team: that understands the local conditions the best and is composed of a set of players that is best suited to excel under the prevailing conditions. This year will be no different.