The subcontinent giants will clash in the marquee Asia Cup from August 30, that serves as key to preparations for the upcoming ODI World Cup in October-November. The Indian squad, announced on Monday last week, is preparing for the continental tournament with a training camp in Alur in Bengaluru where the members of the side took part in YoYo Tests and continue to practice keeping in mind the potential match scenarios. Their arch-rivals, Pakistan, made a statement of intent with strong performances in the recently-concluded ODI series against Afghanistan, winning 3-0.
Both sides are set to meet for an electrifying encounter on September 2 in Kandy, and could potentially meet thrice over the course of the tournament, given they qualify for the Super Fours and consecutively the final. While the clash between both teams is always highly-awaited due to the history of their rivalry and their encounters being confined to continental and international tournaments, former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram warned that it would be harmful to underestimate the other oppositions.
“India versus Pakistan is very important, we know about so much support (teams get), so many eyeballs, so many people (following). But other teams are also here to play so you cannot minus Sri Lanka or Bangladesh,” Akram said, as quoted by PTI.
India have balanced squad
Team India are traveling to Sri Lanka for the Asia Cup with three spinners in Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, and Axar Patel, and two wicketkeeper-batters in KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan with Sanju Samson as the reserve player. With Shreyas Iyer also back in the squad after injury-related absence, the Indian batting order looks stronger already.
And even as Akram insisted that India have a “balanced” squad, the Pakistan bowling great insisted that it won’t be easy for Rohit Sharma’s men in the continental tournament.
“I think they are trying different things, new players especially in the T20 format, also a new captain. They have a balanced squad. But it will not be easy for India or any team,” he said.
India will begin their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on September 2 in Kandy before facing Nepal in Group A. The men in blue will be aiming to move past the previous year’s disappointment at the marque continental tournament; India were knocked out in the Super Fours stage after defeats against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Interestingly, Rohit Sharma was the Indian captain in the side’s last victorious campaign at the Asia Cup in 2018, when the side defeated Bangladesh in the final in Dubai. Rohit was named the skipper of the side after then first-team captain, Virat Kohli, was rested for the tournament.