With India resting Virat Kohli for the Asia Cup due to crucial workload management of their best batsman, veteran fast bowler Umar Gul has termed it as a big advantage for Pakistan ahead of his country's much-anticipated Group A clash against the arch-rivals.
There have been widespread talks that in Kohli's absence, India isn't as strong as it would be with him batting in the top order and that Pakistan's pace battery, where they have included four left-arm fast bowlers in the squad, could prove to be too good for India's batting line-up.
Thinking along the lines, Umar Gul was quoted saying, "There is no doubt that the best players not only from India and Pakistan but from all other Asian teams are now in UAE to help their team win the trophy, but I believe that Pakistan will have a slight advantage here." and further added, "The problem is the heat and I feel that Pakistan, due to the fact that they have trained hard in very hot conditions back home and also in UAE, will find it easier to cope with the weather there. India's players may find the conditions too uncomfortable and that may give Pakistan an upper hand."
While Virat is not there, likes of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul MS Dhoni, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah & co is one of the toughest limited-overs outfits for any team to come across and though Pakistan has a better win-loss record over India, it is the latter that has dominated the rivalry in World Cups and even in the Asia Cup.
But Gul, who played 25 times against India, still reiterated Virat's importance and said, "Virat Kohli is the greatest batsman in the world and his absence is bound to have an effect on the strength of the Indian side and also their morale." by adding, "The Indian side facing Pakistan will still be a tough side to beat with some excellent quality batsmen led by their captain Rohit Sharma, but Pakistan's bowling attack which is used to operating in the UAE should be able to negate any threat from the opposition."
India opens up their campaign with a game against Hong Kong on September 19 before facing off Pakistan a day later.
(Inputs from firstpost)