Asia Cup 2022 is just around the corner and fans are eagerly waiting for the group stage clash between India and Pakistan in Dubai on August 28. It would be interesting to see how both teams perform. Ahead of the tournament, Pakistan were given a body blow as Shaheen Shah Afridi was ruled out of the tournament and the PCB named Mohammad Hasnain as his replacement. India would be without Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel but the regular stars such as Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya will all be back.
All eyes would be on how Virat performs after being rested for the series against West Indies and Zimbabwe. With India and Pakistan squaring off, eyes would be on both Virat Kohli and Pakistan’s in-form captain Babar Azam. Former cricketers Wasim Akram and Ravi Shastri addressed a virtual interaction where they spoke about the upcoming Asia Cup and what to expect.
“It (comparisons) is natural. When we played, I remember people used to compare Inzamam-ul-Haq with Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, before that it was Javed Miandad-Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Viswanath-Zaheer Abbas. It is only natural, like you said Babar has been very consistent in all three formats because he has got the right technique, that is why he has been so consistent. He enjoys his batting; he gets runs and is still pretty hungry. He is physically fit, he is still young and of course he is the captain for all three formats,” said Akram while replying to a NDTV question during a virtual interaction organised by Star Sports Network.
“He is a young captain; he is still learning. As far as comparisons are concerned, I think it is bit too early for me, Babar is on the right track to be where Virat is but comparing him to Virat at this stage is a bit too early. But as I said he is on the completely right track to be one of the modern-day great,” he added.
While replying to another NDTV question on how important Asia Cup would be for Virat who has not scored a century for more than 1000 days, Akram said: “Not just Virat, but for every player from every team. This tournament is very important for all teams from Asia. It is practice before the World Cup, and if you win, it would be icing on the cake, you’ll get the confidence if you get runs or wickets against top sides.”
However, Ravi Shastri said that playing so many games leading into the World Cup can cause injuries and this is why every side needs to have a bigger pool heading into the World Cup.
“Once the squads are announced for the World Cup, I think the cut-off period is one month. So, once you play these bilaterals, ensure you have a bigger squad. Add another 5-6 players who you can put into the mix to give the main players a break who will be playing the World Cup,” said Shastri.
Asia Cup 2022 will be broadcast from 27th August on Star Sports Network and Disney+ Hotstar.
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