Pakistan are favourites to win Asia Cup 2023: Saeed Ajmal
Babar Azam-led Pakistan will kickstart the proceedings in the Asia Cup as they square off with Nepal on August 30.
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Former Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal deemed his national team as ‘favourites’ to win the forthcoming Asia Cup which is slated to begin on Wednesday, August 30. Notably, Babar Azam-led Pakistan will kickstart the proceedings as they square off with Nepal in the curtain raiser of the ACC event at the Multan Cricket Stadium.
With the Asia Cup set to begin and the ODI World Cup on the horizon, former cricketer Ajmal stated that Pakistan will go all the way in the continental event, considering that they have adapted to the conditions in Sri Lanka. It is worth mentioning that the Men in Green recently crossed swords with Afghanistan in Sri Lanka in a three-match ODI series, winning it 3-0.
Furthermore, Ajmal also spoke about speedster Jasprit Bumrah’s return to the Indian setup and predicted Pakistan to go all the way to the semi-final of the ODI World Cup along with the likes of Australia, India, and England.
“Pakistan are favourites to win the Asia Cup as they have played a few matches in Sri Lanka of late. They have already adapted to the conditions there. We have an edge as far as fast bowling is concerned. Shaheen and Naseem are known to claim wickets with the new ball while Haris Rauf is good at death bowling,” Ajmal told The New Indian Express.
“Jasprit Bumrah's return has boosted India's confidence and they bat deep with Ravindra Jadeja coming at No 7. They have good all-rounders in Hardik Pandya, Jadeja, and Axar Patel. Even Kuldeep can bat. Middle order is a worry for Pakistan and if they can manage it, they along with India, Australia, and England can reach the WC semi-finals,” he added.
Home crowd can be an advantage during World Cup: Saeed Ajmal
Ajmal further voiced his stance on the high-voltage clash between India and Pakistan during the ODI World Cup at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. The former off-spinner explained that the home advantage would play a vital role, however, India could be on the back foot if Pakistan get the wickets early in the contest.
“Wickets in Asia remain the same so that will not matter. Pakistan are No 1 side in the ODI and this happened because of their top-order batter and pacers. Home crowd can be an advantage as more than 1 lakh fans will be rooting for you at the world's biggest stadium in Ahmedabad,” said Ajmal.
“But if Pakistan bat first then it will not matter as they will have an edge over the hosts otherwise it will be 50-50 for both teams. If Shaheen and Naseem pick wickets in the first few overs then India will be in trouble early on,” he elaborated.