I would say India start as favourite but Pakistan have narrowed the gap in last few years: Ravi Shastri
India will take on Pakistan on September 2 in Pallekele.
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Ahead of the high-voltage clash between India and Pakistan in the ongoing Asia Cup 2023, former cricketer Ravi Shastri has clarified that the Men in Blue will start as the favourites to win the match. In the last five encounters among all competitions, India have managed to beat Pakistan thrice while the Men in Green have won twice. Thus, Shastri also feels that in the last few years, Pakistan have closed the gap but are yet to topple its neighbours.
The former India head coach mentioned that this is the strongest Indian team since the one that won the 2011 ODI World Cup. He also lauded Rohit Sharma and believes that the Nagpur-born batter has the ability to bring success in the upcoming Asia Cup and the ODI World Cup.
Also see: Most Runs in Asia Cup 2023
“I would say India start as favourites. This is their strongest team since 2011, this mix of players. And a captain who is seasoned, who understands the terrain better than most. Having said that, Pakistan have narrowed the gap. Seven-eight years (ago), there was a gap if you looked at the strength of both teams and man to man. But Pakistan have narrowed it down. They are a very good side, so you have to be on top of your game,” Shastri was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
Never go by form before an India-Pakistan game: Shastri
Shastri believes that the previous form of any player doesn’t matter before an India versus Pakistan match. He added that mental strength is extremely important in these sort of crunch games, and the one who can keep calm and handle the pressure better will be able to deliver.
“It is about who handles pressure better. And never go by form before an India-Pakistan game, because the tough-minded, mentally strong guys might not have done much six months back, but come the India-Pakistan game, they will come (to the fore). They know the importance of that game, they know where it can catapult them if they do well. Their juices will be fired up,” the 61-year-old mentioned.