As if the buzz concerning the India-Pakistan clash in the forthcoming Asia Cup was any lesser, Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman has spiced it up by saying that there will be added pressure on the players during this highly-voltage contest. While the 14th edition of the Asia Cup will be held in UAE from September 15 to 28, India and Pakistan will lock horns with each other at Dubai on September 19.
The last time the arch-rivals faced off was in the summit clash of ICC Champions Trophy 2017, when Zaman played a masterful knock of 114 to script a comprehensive 180-run victory for his side.
"Normally, any match you play at the international level, there's a lot of pressure. And when it comes to an India-Pakistan game, the pressure is more intense. I've experienced that once," Zaman quoted as saying by ICC.
"It would be wrong to say that there won't be any pressure. It'll be on their bowlers as well. It'll be a matter of (which side) keeps their nerves calm, and who seizes the moment. Everything depends on the match situation, and hopefully, we'll be the better side on the day," he added.
Even though India will enter into the tournament without the services of their regular skipper and best batsman, Virat Kohli, but Zaman reckons it won’t make much of a difference since the Men in Blue are still a strong side.
"India are a world-class side, and I don't think it'll make that big a difference for them to not have (Virat) Kohli in the side. Kohli is an exceptional player, but India is a good side anyway. So we hope you'll get to see a good contest," Zaman remarked.
The 2018 Asia Cup will see six teams being divided into two groups. The winner of the Asia Cup qualifier will be joining India and Pakistan in Group A while the Group B comprised of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Pakistan are the firm favourites for the tournament since they have the experience of playing in UAE.
"We've been playing in UAE for quite a few years now, so that's a plus point for us, those have become our home grounds, so it'll be an advantage for us," Zaman said.
During the ODI series against Zimbabwe in July, Fakhar became the first Pakistani batsman and sixth overall to score a double-century in One-Day Internationals. His opening partnership with Imam-ul-Haq has proved the revelation for Pakistan’s impressive show in ODI cricket.
"Imam and I have opened together for a long time, including in domestic cricket. We have developed a good mutual understanding, the calling has become very good, we understand each other's game because we've played with each other for 4-5 years now," Zaman asserted.
"Whenever our middle order gets an opportunity, they bat well. They're in great nick and it shows in the way they are playing in the nets as well. But our goal will be to play long innings, and not give the middle order too many opportunities to bat in the Asia Cup,” the southpaw concluded.