'This will be strongest Asia Cup' - Ravi Shastri acknowledges strength of all participating nations

India's campaign gets underway against their arch-rivals Pakistan on 28th August.

Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri. (Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images

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The biggest cricketing carnival in the Asian subcontinent is just around the corner, starting on August 27 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The curtain-raiser will be played at the Dubai International Stadium between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. On Sunday, August 28, India’s campaign gets underway against their arch-rivals, Pakistan. Wasim Akram, Former Pakistani captain, and former India head coach, Ravi Shastri will be reunited in the commentary box, which has been the hottest topic of conversation of late.

In the run-up to the major event, Ravi Shastri and Wasim Akram featured in a press conference organized by Star Sports, the official broadcasters of Asia Cup 2022. Shastri touched on this edition of the Asia Cup as the “Strongest Asia Cup,” stating that the nations competing would be looking to kick off their campaign with a win under their belts in order to gather momentum in the starting stages of the competition. He also mentioned that teams like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka could cause trouble and may force an upset for the tournament favourites. 

“This will be the strongest Asia Cup. The difference between the sides has closed, and that would make it interesting. A good start would be important for teams,” Shastri said in a virtual press conference organized by Star Sports.

Virat Kohli’s sluggish patch has been the talk of the town for quite some time now, and maybe he did require some time away from the game, and Shastri was the first man to recommend a break, which is precisely what took place. The former Indian captain took a break from the game, which could potentially be vital for him as well as the Indian team moving forward in his spectacular career.

“I haven’t spoken to him, but it’s not rocket science. Big players wake up in due course. They need a break; mental fatigue can creep into the best in the world. There is not a single player in world cricket who has not gone through a bad patch, and I am sure this downtime is not just for the body; it’s time to reflect. He would have reflected on what things he could have done better,” Shastri added.

One of my favourites these days in white-ball is Suryakumar Yadav: Wasim Akram

India vs Pakistan matchup still sends a wave of excitement and provides spine-tingling moments to most cricket fans across the globe, and the tension is so intense that it could be cut with a knife. The former Pakistan captain was entrusted with selecting an Indian player who could seriously harm Pakistan in the upcoming tournament. Suryakumar Yadav was the name that came up, and it didn’t bring up a sense of surprise as he has been one of the best white-ball cricketers in the country at the moment.

“Of course, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Virat Kohli are there, but one of my favourite players these days, in this shorter format, is Suryakumar Yadav. He has been phenomenal. I saw him the first year when he joined the Kolkata Knight Riders, and he played a couple of games batting at No. 7 and 8. And a couple of shots he played – the one that he picks from the middle of his bat towards fine leg – that’s an unusual and difficult shot to muster,” reckoned Wasim Akram.