Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh said that the Men in Blue are not outright favourites against Pakistan prior to their 2023 Asia Cup group-stage match on Saturday. India and Pakistan have fought equally across their last set of meetings as well. However, India and Pakistan last met in an ODI during the 2019 World Cup in England as well. Pakistan are a completely different side now under Babar Azam and they are currently the No.1-ranked team in the format and started the Asia Cup 2023 opener with a 238-run win over Nepal.
Harbhajan Singh said on his YouTube channel: “The ODI format suits Babar better than T20, because he gets time to play his game, and he has done really well in this format as well. Everytime we say India are favorites against Pakistan in the recent past, but this time around it is an even battle. As always, it will be Pakistan’s bowling against India’s batting to watch out for in this match. Pakistan bowlers are capable of doing it all, they can bowl at high pace, get the ball to swing, bowl yorkers and bouncers as well. At the same time, the Indian batting unit might just be the best in the world.”
However, Pakistan bowlers are in fine form, having dismantled Afghanistan and Nepal recently. The pace trio of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Naseem Shah will prove to be a difficult ask, even in subcontinent conditions too. The former India spinner, however, excluded Mohammed Siraj and included Shardul Thakur in his preferred playing XI for the upcoming match against Pakistan.
“It is important to have batting depth and that is why I have Shardul Thakur at No.8. He has done well for India in ODIs and Tests. Even if it is a shortened match, the team should remain the same, because this team has it all. Ishan Kishan does not have much experience playing in the middle order, but I hope that he comes good. Strike needs to be rotated well in the middle overs, and it will be a huge test for Kishan,” Harbhajan Singh concluded.