The Rohit Sharma led India and Pakistan captained by Babar Azam will collide on Sunday, in Dubai for their blockbuster, hyped-up Asia Cup Group A game. Such is the format of the tournament that the two sides can clash a maximum of three times, including in the final.
This will also be the first meeting between the arch-rivals after Babar Azam’s team’s thumping 10-win over the Men In Blue at T20 World Cup last year, incidentally in Dubai.
While fans of both nations are having a go at each other on social media, the cricketers have been sort of lovey-dovey.
From Indian players meeting Shaheen Afridi to Shaheen and Shadab Khan praying for Virat Kohli to return back to form; from the Babar Azam having chats with Kohli and Rohit Sharma, to the Indian captain inquiring the Pakistani skipper about his marriage ideas. This just isn’t anymore your typical India-Pakistan bloodbath, battles, or wars eliciting synonyms rivalry anymore.
Rohit Sharma tells Babar Azam to get married
After their net sessions, India captain Rohit Sharma met the Pakistani skipper, Babar Azam, a day before their encounter. The pair had a longish char in which Sharma also jokingly told Babar to get married. The 27-year-old Pakistani leader, however, just smiled back and said that now is not the time yet for his marriage.
Rohit Sharma – “bhai, get married”.
Babar Azam – “no, not now (smiles)”.
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) August 27, 2022
Here is the full interaction between the two which the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) uploaded on their social media handles:
©️ meets ©️#AsiaCup2022 pic.twitter.com/OgnJZpM9B1
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) August 27, 2022
Meanwhile, both the teams will be without their star fast bowlers in the Asia Cup 2022: Shaheen Afridi has been ruled out of the tournament due to a knee injury; Jasprit Bumrah has been ruled out due to a back injury.
Former Pakistani captain Younis Khan has said that Team India has been significantly hurt by the loss of spearhead seamer Jasprit Bumrah. Younis asserted that it is the Indian team who are more affected by the absence of their star fast bowler.
“More than Bumrah’s absence being Pakistan’s advantage, I think India will be affected more. They’ll be missing one of their match-winners,” Younis told The Telegraph.
“If we analyse the lower-order batting and finishing abilities of batsmen in both teams, India have an edge. Pakistan have a solid top order, but their lower order has few finishers or hard-hitters as compared to India.”
Here are the squads of India and Pakistan:
India: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Deepak Hooda, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravi Bishnoi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan. Standbys: Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel, Deepak Chahar.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir.