Asia Cup 2018: India capable of winning sans Virat Kohli, says Shahid Afridi

Kohli has been rested after a long tour of England.

Virat Kohli
Indian captain Virat Kohli. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi feels defending champions India can once again win the Asia Cup even without Virat Kohli. The Indian skipper was rested after a long tour of England, where he scored runs aplenty, notably a total of 593 in the 5-match Test series. In his absence, opener Rohit Sharma will assume captaincy duties. India are already through to the Super 4 from Group after Hong Kong suffered defeats in the two games they played. They are currently taking on arch-rivals Pakistan in a highly anticipated Asia Cup encounter.

Kohli led from the front in India’s overseas assignments this year. He was spectacular against both South Africa and England, batting in conditions that favoured the home team. His captaincy has however come under the scanner, especially after India suffered a 1-4 defeat against England. While he’s been rested for the Asia Cup, Kohli could be preparing for the series against the Windies followed by India’s final overseas tour of Australia.

India a strong batting unit: Afridi

Speaking to ABP News, Afridi said, “There is not much difference between the two sides. From the beginning, India has been a strong batting unit. Therefore, Virat Kohli’s absence will not make much of a difference.”

“Kohli’s absence could create a psychological impact on both sides. This would be beneficial for Pakistan team. However, the Indian team has some brilliant players on the field except Virat Kohli. There are going to be in hot conditions in Dubai. Thus, the team batting first will hold the advantage baton. Consequently, the toss will play an important role,” he added.

India last played Pakistan in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017 which Pakistan won convincingly by 180 runs. However, the last time these two sides met in the Asia Cup, it was India who had the upper hand, albeit with a few stumbles in the chase. The defending champions defeated Hong Kong by 26 runs on Tuesday.

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