The stage is set for an electrifying clash as cricket giants India and Pakistan reignite their fierce rivalry in ODIs at the much-awaited Asia Cup 2023. Placed in Group A, this encounter could potentially be the first of a trilogy in the tournament; if both teams progress to the Super Fours, they may face off again, possibly leading to a final if they secure top-2 spots.
As India readies itself for the challenge, the possible return of star pacers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Mohammed Siraj promises to fortify their pace attack. While Bumrah is recovering from a back injury and will stage a comeback in the T20I series against Ireland, Shami, and Siraj, absent in the recent ODIs against West Indies, are anticipated to enhance India’s potent bowling arsenal.
However, Pakistan batter Abdullah Shafique remains resolute in his confidence when questioned about the showdown with India in the Asia Cup. Undaunted by the prospect of facing India’s formidable fast bowlers, Shafique places trust in Pakistan’s internal practice sessions. In these sessions, he confronts the likes of Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Naseem Shah, the nation’s pace sensations.
Abdullah Shafique was asked if Pakistan batters will be prepared to face the likes of Jasprit Bumrah in upcoming Asia Cup
— Cricket Pakistan (@cricketpakcompk) August 15, 2023
For Shafique, these internal battles serve as the ultimate preparation, honing his skills to face the finest the cricketing world offers. When asked about India’s Jasprit Bumrah potentially returning and adding to the challenge, Shafique’s response is poised and confident.
“Facing Haris, Naseem, and Shaheen in practice sessions is a routine. Does that make it easier for you when confronting rival bowlers? Especially considering India… with Jasprit Bumrah’s anticipated return for the Asia Cup?” a journalist inquired during a media interaction.
Shafique downplayed any apprehensions. “Our bowling attack is formidable, arguably the world’s best. We regularly encounter them (Shaheen, Haris, Naseem) in practice nets… we face their demanding spells. This boosts our confidence and refines our preparation. Our success against them breeds confidence against rival bowlers,” Abdullah Shafique affirmed.
Scheduled for September 2 in Kandy, India and Pakistan’s clash includes Nepal as the third Group A team. Furthermore, both teams will confront each other in the ODI World Cup on October 14 in Ahmedabad.