When the teams arrived for the Asia Cup, there were the usual cynics, from the old powers who with their sub-continent acolytes were questioning the whys of the tournament that was established in 1984 to ensure that Asian teams got the opportunity to play against each other when the old powers were reluctant to play with them.
It was this solidarity that ensured that the Asian teams were not left out of the big picture at the ICC, and more crucially it gave young players in all the teams the chance to showcase their skills to the cricketing world. That there are some, who thought that the tri-series in Australia was more important just goes to show that despite years of independence, there has been no freedom from the mental inferiority they feel.
This year's Asia Cup was probably the most fiercely contested in the entire history of the tournament. This was in the main due to Bangladesh playing quite brilliantly and beating top ranked teams, and in doing so keeping the tournament alive till the last league game.
Apart from that, there were individual performances that took one's breath away. All the matches were intensely competitive and nobody knew till the final run was scored or the final wicket fell which team was going to win.
Virat Kohli played an unforgettable innings against arch rivals Pakistan, which made a mockery of the huge total that they had put up. The Pakistani attack by far was the best in the tournament, with variety in pace as well as in spin. That is why, it was thought that they would restrict India and when Gambhir fell to the second ball of the innings, the fears increased.
It is here that Kohli, showed how much he has developed as a player, by making light of the pressure and playing his natural game. What was outstanding was that at no stage did he try anything out of the ordinary and played orthodox cricketing shots, and yet scored at more than a run a ball.
There were no cute shots like the scoop or the reverse sweep and he played to his strengths, and did not look to discover other body parts, that did not exist in his batting. He had the company of the experienced Tendulkar to begin with, and with 'the master' matching him shot for shot the tension if any, just eased away. He then built another big partnership with the talented Rohit Sharma, and Suresh Raina then came for dessert and polished it off.
Below down under New Zealand had no place to hide as they were blown away by South Africa's pace attack, with Vernon Philander picking a ten wicket haul in the match. After a forgettable debut in limited overs cricket, Philander has made a magnificent comeback in South Africa's colours in Test cricket and the regularity with which he picks five wickets in an innings is almost similar to that of Dale Steyn, who is his bowling partner now.
It must be the most lethal pace bowling attack in the world today when Morkel and Kallis come on to bowl after the Steyn-Philander duo have finished their spells. The rains saved the Kiwis in the first Test and look like saving them again in the third Test too.
Virat Kohli, for his tremendous knock and consistency is the week's CEAT International Cricketer.
Professional Management Group