LAHORE: While acknowledging that Virat Kohli-led Indian team were relatively stronger due to their overall experience, Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed on Wednesday said his men would utilise their experience of playing in the UAE at the Asia Cup being staged in the Emirates next month.
“Our team has relatively more experience of playing under UAE conditions and therefore we will try to take advantage of this experience in our Asia Cup match against India. On the other hand, Virat Kohli-XI is a stronger outfit as far as overall experience is concerned,” Sarfraz said while talking to reporters here at the LCCA ground where he led Pakistan Cricket Club in the semi-final of the Fazal Mahmood Inter-club Cricket tournament on Wednesday.
Interestingly, it would be the first Pakistan-India ODI since last year’s ICC Champions Trophy final at The Oval where Pakistan thrashed their traditional opponents by 180 runs to clinch their maiden title in style.
Sarfraz on the occasion also expressed his ignorance about the BCCI raising any objection over the schedule of India-Pakistan match in the Sept 15-28 Asia Cup.
“I have no information about the BCCI raising any objection over the schedule of India-Pakistan match,” the Pakistan skipper stated.
Pakistan are scheduled to meet India in their Asia Cup group ‘A’ match on Sept 19 in Dubai. While Sarfraz and his men will be playing that game after two-day rest, India will be facing their arch-rivals without any gap after featuring in their opening match against a qualifier on Sept 18.
“Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan will also be good competitors at the Asia Cup as they are doing well at the international level,” noted Sarfraz.
The captain further said, “Currently, our primary focus is on the players’ physical fitness and in this regard a training camp [for the Asia Cup] is also being held from Sept 3.”
Meanwhile, the skipper said Pakistan after the Asia Cup would be facing two good teams — New Zealand and Australia — in the UAE in which he was expecting good performance from his team.
Answering a question, Sarfraz said Pakistan’s performance on England tours in the last few years — as a result of improved preparations — was better than that of the current Indian team
Commenting on the domestic cricket structure, Sarfraz hoped that prime minister-in-waiting Imran Khan would not close departmental cricket. Instead, the Pakistan captain emphasised, extra hard work was required to boost departmental cricket.
Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2018