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Asia Cup 2022: Trophy-Hungry India Eye Continental Glory Before T20 World Cup

India have won the last two editions of this competition and will now look to bag three titles in a row.

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Three semi-final defeats, as many losses in the finals, and a humbling group stage exit – these are India's records in ICC events ever since the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy triumph.

That, however, does not mean the Indian fans have not had anything to celebrate over the last nine years. The men in blue won bilateral series – a torrent of them. But with international cricket gradually taking a backseat with the growing popularity of franchise cricket, success in bilateral series is starting to lose significance.

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In less than two months, India will take on Pakistan in their first match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022. The immense importance of this fixture is known to all, for India will not only look to rectify the mistakes they committed in the last edition, but also avenge the ten-wicket defeat against Pakistan.

However, before we get to that stage, India will face Pakistan, alongside some other neighbours, in the only competition where they have found success in recent years – Asia Cup.

Having won the last two editions of this tournament, India will look to repeat their feat from 1995, where they secured their third consecutive Asia Cup title. Besides that, with the two tournaments being separated by less than two weeks, a trophy will do Rohit Sharma's team's confidence a world of good.

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India's Record in Asia Cup

It is not startling that India are the most successful team in the Asia Cup. The men in blue have secured seven Asia Cup titles, with the first in the inaugural 1984 edition, and the last being the 2018 triumph.

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How the Squad Is Looking Ahead of Asia Cup 2022

With Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel's injuries, India will miss their pace spearhead and the death-overs trump card. In their absence, Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the only experienced pacer in the squad, but India also boasts of two talented pacers in Avesh Khan, who can be lethal with the new ball, and Arshdeep Singh, who is usually handy during the death overs with his pace variations.

Yuzvendra Chahal is the frontline spin option with Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin to give him company, albeit there have been questions on the selection of the latter.

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The batting department will be bolstered by the addition of skipper Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, both of whom were not a part of the recently-concluded Zimbabwe tour and will, hence, have no fatigue-related problems.

Suryakumar Yadav has been in ominous touch recently, but it will be imperative for KL Rahul to find his form back after struggling to accumulate runs against Zimbabwe.

Had this competition been played a couple of months ago, the Indian team management would have had a tough time selecting a wicketkeeper between Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik. However, with the latter scoring only 66 runs in the T20I series against West Indies, Rishabh's selection now seems to be a no-brainer.

India’s squad for Asia Cup: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan.

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The Opponents

India are placed in Group A of the Asia Cup 2022, alongside Pakistan and Hong Kong. The opening match is against Babar Azam’s boys on 28 August, followed by the Hong Kong clash three days later.

Sharma & Co. need to finish in the top two to qualify for the Super Four stage, which will commence on 3 September.

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