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Asia Cup 2000 Analysis

Country: BangladeshGrade: C-
Still establishing themselves in the cricketing world, the Bangladeshis have come a very long way to what may be a dream come true; to obtain full test status. There is still a lot of work to be done if Bangladesh is to emerge as a contender on the international scene. Although being hosts of this tournament, their success rate has been rather dismal comparatively.

The injury to batsman Mehrab Hussain - the only individual to score a century in one-day cricket - will plague a team whose batting lacks depth with the exception of Akram Khan and Habibul Bashar. The bowling really lacks really any sort of penetration and will face difficulty against the likes of Tendulkar, Jayasuriya and Inzamum Ul Haq.

Overall, it'll take an inspired effort for the Bangladeshis to reach the finals, let alone win the tournament. But hey, no one says it can't't be done. 'Where there is a will there is a way'.

Country: PakistanGrade: B+
The Pakistan team has undergone some major changes in both the bowling and batting areas. With the team still undecided for the tournament as well as clashing swords with the West Indians, the Pakistanis could provide an interesting selection for the tournament.

One thing for sure is that the amount of cricket played by the Pakistanis has plagued the team with injuries to some key players. Shoaib Akhtar, and possibly Wasim Akram will not be participating in the tournament. This could prove to be a huge blow to the team as both have demonstrated the ability to take the game and pull victories accordingly.

However, despite these major setbacks, the Pakistanis still have a very balanced attack led by Waqar Younis, Saqlain Mustaq and Mustaq Ahmed. All have made impressive comebacks into the one-day and test teams. The batting lineup has also undergone tremendous changes. Gone are the old guard of Saeed Anwar and Aamir Sohail replaced by youngsters Imran Nazir, Younis Khan, Yousuf Youhana and Mohammed Wasim.

Along with support by Inzamum and Captain Moin Khan, Pakistan truly has the potential to take the trophy home, that is, if they're able to set aside their differences and focus on the game at hand.

Country: IndiaGrade: B-
Despite the decision of the board to act aggressively by introducing younger talent to the team, the Indian team still remains inconsistent with its 14-man squad. The batting still remains as bland as ever with the burden placed upon the Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar. Whether teammates Ganguly, Jadeja and Dravid provide to the tally, remains to be seen.

The sole inclusion of newcomer Hemant Badani to the batting line-up will be interesting, as he will be fighting for the last batting spot with no other than Mohammad Azharuddin, who remains to be a favorite amongst selectors.

On the bowling front, the exclusion of Prasad and Srinath has placed too heavy a burden on the bowling attack which is led by Kumble, Agarkar and Kumaran. On the plus side, newcomer Amit Bhandari might just do the trick to provide some form of inspiration to a bowling attack that leaves much to be desired.

The team does has the potential to win the trophy, as it demonstrated last year, but will have to do so as a team and not depend on Tendulkar to do all the work.

Country: Sri LankaGrade: B+
The Sri Lankans have begun to silence their critics and raise eyebrows with their performances in the last few months. They have made a steady and consistent comeback to the level that brought them the glory of'96 and has gone through major and interesting changes to facilitate this.

The batting has shown some interesting additions, such as the inclusion of PA De Silva. Rumor has it that he will be opening with Captain Jayasuriya, which will bring bowlers a little ease knowing that the explosive batting of Jayasusriya-Kaluwitharana will be put on ice for a bit. With firm support from Attapattu and Jayawardane the Lankans have depth and will prove to be testing to the other teams.

On the bowling front, a very balanced and aggressive attack led by Vaas and Muralitharan would definitely prove to be difficult for batsmen from the other teams. Still, impressive as ever is the fielding of this side and the total commitment shown by the players during the whole duration of the game. It is this fighting quality that has contributed to the Lankan's success and without question will be ever present throughout the entire tournament.

Seeing the balance and string of solid performances of the Lankans in the past few months, they can definitely be seen as a potential threat and very well could snatch the trophy right under the feet of the Indians and Pakistanis.

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