Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar has termed Pakistan as ‘favorites’ to win the 19th September Pakistan- India Asia Cup clash.
The last time the two arch-rivals played was last year’s final of Champions Trophy where Pakistan thrashed India by 180 runs.
On 18th September, India on their first group stage match against Hong Kong, managed to get the 26 runs close win.
Pakistan team made a blistering start of Asia Cup on Sunday with a thumping win over the same opponents.
“Pakistan is the favorite only because the big psychological advantage that they have of beating India in the final of the Champions Trophy,” said Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar.
“The previous game or the ball before… always stays at the back of your mind and that creates a touch of uncertainty in your mind.”
“And Virat’s absence is going to be crucial as well,” Sunil Gavaskar said.
The talismanic Kohli, currently the top-ranked one-day batsman in the world, has been rested for regional six-team competition in the United Arab Emirates.
Rohit Sharma is leading the side in his absence, looking for redemption after India´s 1-4 Test loss to England.
Former Indian batsman Sanjay Manjrekar echoed Gavaskar´s views, saying “Pakistan start as favourites because they have been playing in those conditions”.
The UAE has been Pakistan’s home base since 2009 when a terrorist attack on the touring Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore left six players injured, and international teams refused to tour the troubled nation.
India has suspended bilateral cricket ties against Pakistan amid political tensions, and the two only play each other in multi-nation events like the World Cup.
Fans in cricket-crazy India are banking on a win against neighbouring Pakistan to ease their England heartache.
An Indian fan Anuj Verma said, “Just win against Pakistan and we will feel that we have won the Asia Cup. It will be good after the loss in England.”
“But I guess both these teams will meet in Super Four (stage) and the finals as well, so I would love to beat them twice or thrice to take revenge of our Champions Trophy final loss last year,” Anuj Verma said.
India hold the edge in Asia Cup encounters against Pakistan with a 6-5 lead in 12 matches. But Pakistan have a big 73-52 lead overall in 129 ODI games.