India without Virat Kohli would not be the same but there is enough intrigue surrounding stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma and his strong side that is more than capable of guiding the defending champions to their seventh title triumph at the Asia Cup.

Kohli has been rested for the six-nation ODI tournament following a gruelling England tour that concluded with a 1-4 loss in the Tests for India. The likes of Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav and Ambati Rayudu have been included for the Asia Cup, making this an audition of sorts for the World Cup, as far as the middle order is concerned.

All eyes will be on 37-year-old MS Dhoni who drew flak for his slow innings during India’s 1-2 loss in the ODI series in England.

India begin their campaign against Hong Kong on September 18 before the marquee clash against Pakistan the next day.

Here’s a look at the team’s performance in the Asia Cup over the years, by the numbers.

(Note: For simplicity, the last edition of Asia Cup is not included in the tables and stats below because it was played in the T20 format)

History

India are the most successful team in the Asia Cup, having won six of the 13 editions of the tournament, including the only time it was played in the Twenty20 format, in 2016, making them the defending champions. (Excluding the T20 edition, India and Sri Lanka have won five titles each).

India won the inaugural competition in 1984, and then in 1988, 1990-91, 1995 and 2010 before the last one.

Sri Lanka have won the most number of matches in the tournament history.

Team record at the Asia Cup

Team Mat Won / Lost / Tied (NR) Win-Loss Ratio

Sri Lanka 48 34 / 14 / 0 (0) 2.428
India 43 26 /16 / 0 (1) 1.625
Pakistan 40 24 / 15 / 0 (1) 1.6
Bangladesh 37 4 / 33 / 0 (0) 0.121
Afghanistan 4 1 / 3 / 0 (0) 0.333
Hong Kong 4 0 / 4 / 0 (0) 0
U.A.E. 4 0 / 4 / 0 (0) 0
Courtesy: Statsguru / ESPNCricinfo

India’s record against the top Asian teams:

vs Bangladesh: Played 10, Won 9, Lost 1
vs Sri Lanka: Played 9, Won 9, Lost 10
vs Pakistan: Played 11, Won 5, Lost 5 (No result: 1)

India’s batting

With a dab to square leg off Shakib al Hasan, the Master Blaster reached his 100th International Century. “An absolutely mind-boggling event,” said Sunil Gavaskar on air even as Sachin Tendulkar looked visibly overcome by emotion. The road to 100 wasn’t pretty and was often filled with criticism, but it really was a milestone that every great batsman going forward would strive to reach. And this happened at the Asia Cup in 2012.

Not surprisingly, Tendulkar has the best record among Indian batsmen at the tournament.

The Asia Cup is also where Tendulkar’s heir to the throne, Virat Kohli, made his highest ODI score (yet) – a swashbuckling 183, which also came in the 2012 Asia Cup, against Sri Lanka.

India batsmen at the Asia Cup

Player Matches (Innings) Runs (100s / 50s) HS
Sachin Tendulkar 23 (21) 971 (2/7) 114
Virat Kohli 11 (10) 613 (3/1) 183
Gautam Gambhir 13 (13) 573 (1/5) 100
MS Dhoni 13 (12) 571 (1/3) 109*
Suresh Raina 13 (13) 547 (2/3) 116*
Navjot Sidhu 14 (12) 530 (1/6) 104*
Saurav Ganguly 13 (12) 518 (1/4) 135*
Virender Sehwag 13 (13) 509 (1/3) 119
Md Azharuddin 18 (13) 468 (0/4) 90*
Rohit Sharma 17 (16) 428 (0/4) 69
Rahul Dravid 13 (9) 334 (1/2) 104
Yuvraj Singh 11 (10) 312 (0/1) 50
Courtesy: Statsguru / ESPNCricinfo

As far as partnerships are concerned, Virat Kohli features three times in India’s top five stands at the Asia Cup.

Best partnerships

Players Match Runs
Virat Kohli / Ajinkya Rahane
 3rd wicket, vs BAN (2014)  213
Gautam Gambhir / Virat Kohli   2nd wicket, vs SL (2012) 205
Suresh Raina / Virender Sehwag  2nd wicket, vs PAK (2008) 198
Md Azharuddin / Navjot Sidhu 
3rd wicket, v SL (1995) 175
Virat Kohli / Rohit Sharma 3rd wicket, v PAK (2012) 172

India’s bowling

Irfan Pathan has been India’s best bowler at the Asia Cup but look at who is at No 2. Yes, that man, Tendulkar. It’s not just a case of having a rare go here and there, it’s a proper all-round effort – Tendulkar has the best difference between batting and bowling averages among Indian players (minimum five matches). And that difference of nearly 30 is also the fourth best among all-rounders in Asia Cup history.

Another observation that stands out is Kumble’s rather ordinary record. His strike rate of 54.8 (one wicket every nine overs) is the worst among the top wicket-takers for India at the Asia Cup.

Although not present in this list below, one of the most memorable spells in the tournament history came from Arshad Ayub in the 1988 edition, when he took 5/21 against Pakistan in Dhaka. To this day, that remains the only five-wicket haul by an Indian in the tournament history.

India bowlers at Asia Cup (Min 5 matches)

Players Matches (Innings) Total wickets (Best figures) Average / Strike rate
Irfan Pathan 12 (12) 22 (4/32) 27.5 / 29.7
Sachin Tendulkar 23 (15) 17 (3/21) 21.41 / 26.9
Kapil Dev 7 (7) 15 (4/31) 13 / 21.8
R Ashwin 7 (7) 14 (3/31) 22.71 / 29.4
Anil Kumble 15 (14) 14 (3/43) 38 / 54.8
Venkatesh Prasad 7 (7) 13 (4/17) 17.76 / 24
Ravindra Jadeja 10 (10) 12 (4/30) 29.08 / 40.05
Praveen Kumar 11 (11) 12 (3/53) 42 / 45.2
Virender Sehwag 13 (10) 12 (4/6) 21.16 / 27.8
Zaheer Khan 8 (8) 9 (2/36) 36.33 / 41.6
Courtesy: Statsguru / ESPNCricinfo