The countdown for the much-anticipated clash between India and Pakistan has begun. The Asian giants will lock horns with each other in the Asia Cup 2022 on August 28 in Dubai.
Since both the nations don’t play each other in bilateral series, the excitement for the game becomes unmatched. The last time they faced each other was during the T20 World Cup 2021, which saw Pakistan thrashing India by 10 wickets.
Amid the anticipation, India skipper Rohit Sharma on Wednesday (August 17) said that the Men in Blue are playing differently from the last time they faced Pakistan.
“Asia Cup is happening after a long time, but we played Pakistan last year in Dubai, where obviously the result did not go our way. But the Asia Cup is different now. The team is playing differently and has prepared differently, so a lot of things have changed from then. But for us, we need to assess the conditions, keep in mind the fact that we will be playing in 40-plus degrees. We need to assess all those factors and prepare accordingly,” Rohit said while addressing the media.
“My thought has always been that we will not focus on the opponent, but we will continue to play our game. We played against West Indies, England and in both cases, we did not think about who our opposition was, but we focused on things that we had to do as a team and what we had to achieve. Similarly, in the Asia Cup, our focus will be on what to achieve as a team and not think about who we are facing – be it Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka,” he added.
“As a team, we are working on a few things ahead of the Asia Cup. We have to keep the process going,” he continued.
With the T20 World Cup 2022 also around the corner, the Indian captain said that they have more or less identified the players for the showpiece tournament.
“There is still about two-and-a-half months left for the T20 World Cup. Before that, we have the Asia Cup and two home series against Australia and South Africa. So, more or less 80-90 percent of your team is set, of course there could be three-four changes if at all depending on the conditions. As of now, we have been playing in India and will play in UAE, so the conditions in Australia will be different. We need to check what suits our team in Australia,” he said.
India’s pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah won’t be seen in action during the Asia Cup 2022 as he is recovering from a back injury.
However, the pace attack is still a decent one with young performers like Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan featuring in it alongside veteran campaigner Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
“(Jasprit) Bumrah, (Mohd) Shami and all these guys will not be with the Indian team forever, so you have to try and prepare the other guys. Myself and Rahul bhai spoke about how we are going to create our bench strength because that’s going to be very crucial considering the amount of cricket we play, considering the injury factors and everything. We never want to be a team that relies on one or two individuals, we want to be a team where everyone can contribute and help the team win on their own. We want to be that kind of a team and that’s why we want to give the youngsters as many opportunities as possible and of course, you have got senior players around them. They can be of good help,” Rohit said.
(The Indian Express inputs)