Asia Cup 2023: Pakistan hold an edge over India because of recent Sri Lanka experience, claims Babar Azam

Pakistan’s next Super-4 match is scheduled against India in Colombo on September 10.

Babar Azam | GettyPakistan are having a great time in the ongoing Asia Cup. In the group-stage, the Men in Green registered a crushing 238-run victory over Nepal while their marquee encounter against India was abandoned due to rain.

In the first game of the Super-4 round, the Babar Azam-led side thrashed Bangladesh by seven wickets to go one step closer towards the final.

Pakistan’s next Super-4 match is scheduled against arch-rivals India at R.Premadasa Stadium, Colombo on Sunday (September 10).

On the eve of the game, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam had no qualms in saying that the recent experience of playing in Sri Lankan conditions will give his side an edge over India.

Notably, a number of Pakistani players have been playing in Sri Lanka since the Test series in July, followed by the Lanka Premier League and the bilateral ODIs against Afghanistan.

“Given the continuous cricket we are playing both in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, you can say that we hold an edge (over India),” said Babar in the pre-match press conference.

“We have been playing here in Sri Lanka for the past two months or so. We have played Tests, we played a series against Afghanistan and then the LPL... So it can be said that we have an advantage,” he added.

Since the Asia Cup is being held as per the hybrid model, Babar and his men had to shuttle between Pakistan and Sri Lanka for their matches but the captain didn’t whine over the same.

“We always knew the schedule and how much we have to travel. So, it's become important how we look after our players. We have planned everything well,” he said.

The main reason behind Pakistan’s success in the continental tournament has been the performances of their fast bowlers.

The pace troika of Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf has troubled all the opposition batters they have faced so far. While Rauf is the leading wicket-taker in the competition so far with nine scalps to his name, Shaheen and Naseem have claimed seven wickets each.

However, Babar isn’t pleased with the performance of his spinners and urged them to lift their game and take wickets in the middle overs.

“Yes, we get a good start (with the ball) and the plan always is to bowl good in middle overs. The effort is to have an effective combination. We need wickets in the middle overs but we are not getting them."

“But you can see that we are finishing good. Our pacers are doing well at the end. This is a team performance. If someone fails, then another bowler chips in,” he stated.

The group-stage match between India and Pakistan ended in a no-result due to rain last week, and Babar Azam hoped the weather would stay clear on Sunday (September 10).

“We are focusing on what is in our control. The way the sun is beaming, I don't think it will rain a lot (tomorrow). We are trying to do as much practice as we can,” he remarked.

(With PTI Inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 09 Sep, 2023

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