Veteran India spinner Harbhajan Singh has picked India as favorites to defeat Pakistan for the Asia Cup 2018 group stage clash on September 19. He believes India is good enough to beat Pakistan even in absence of their backbone Virat Kohli.
The stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma has the capability to lead India to a tournament win. He has done so earlier this year when India won the Nidahas Trophy 2018 under him in a thrilling final.
Talking more about the clash between India and Pakistan, Harbhajan said that Indian batsmen will make things tough for Pakistan bowlers. India also has depth in their batting which makes the favorite for the game, as per the veteran spinner.
"India favorites even without Virat Kohli. India's batting is superior. In Asian conditions, Indian batsmen will be tough to get out. Not just because of their batting but there's a lot of depth in their bowling. Kuldeep Yadav will be the trump card for India," said Harbhajan on the stage of Salaam Cricket 2018.
However, the former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq didn't agree with Harbhajan's views. He named Pakistan to win the game between the two countries.
"Currently, this Pakistan team gives you a lot. We have a lot of armory in the bowling department. We have good all-rounders. One thing that gives us a little bit of edge is the attitude of the team - they don't shy away from challenges. India does not have Kohli and Pakistan will take the opportunity to go out there and beat India. India has a lot of experience but currently, Pakistan has the better chance of winning," Misbah said.
But Muttiah Muralitharan seconds Harbhajan's words and thinks India are more experienced. "India has the edge. Pakistan is a young team and they are improving but India has got the talent. A lot of their players have more exposure than Pakistan's players. MS Dhoni can control a lot from behind the wickets. Pakistan knows how to play in Dubai - they are used to playing here," said Muralitharan.
Like former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar, former Pakistan leg-spinner Abdul Qadir also said Kohli should have played the Asia Cup and skipped the home series against West Indies for rest.
"I will keep my fingers crossed for a good game. Personally, Kohli should have played and could have been rested for the series vs West Indies but it's his call," Qadir said.