With India deciding to rest their best batsman Virat Kohli for the upcoming edition of Asia Cup, premier Pakistani fast bowler Hasan Ali has termed this as an advantage for bowlers in the six-team competition, especially with the likelihood of Pakistan meeting India thrice in the two-week tournament.
Virat, who has simply been outstanding in the ongoing five-match Test series in England, was rested by the BCCI and Indian selection committee with an eye towards prioritizing his workload and the busy schedule in the future ahead. While the likes of Hasan would definitely think they've missed out on the chance to test themselves against the best, it also is an opportunity for them.
"Kohli is a very good player. We all know he is match winner," Hasan was quoted saying, "Though India are still a good side, his absence is going to be an advantage for us. He can drive his team out of pressure anytime and any newcomer won't be good enough to handle the pressure. I am definitely going to miss bowling at him. It's natural that every young bower would like to have his wicket."
"But it's okay if he is not coming ... I will look for him the next time. I wasn't targeting Kohli only. We are not going to play only against India as there are other teams [in the tournament] as well. Our main focus is the entire tournament rather than winning one game and losing others. We have do well to beat every team and try to win the tournament." he added.
Having beaten the arch-rivals when the two neighbours last met in the ICC Champions Trophy final last year, Hasan also thinks that Pakistan can exploit whatever psychological dents there may be in the Indian camp.
He said, "We are on top right now and they [India] will be under pressure from the previous defeat, In UAE, these are our conditions, we have the home advantage as we have been playing here for long and very much aware how to use the conditions well." and added, "There is definitely a pressure but I feel good when pressure mounts on me because that is where I try to perform and help my side win."
In what is, as always, a much-anticipated game of cricket, India and Pakistan will be up against each other in the first round of Asia Cup on September 19.
(Inputs from Cricbuzz)