'There Is No Favourites…': Sourav Ganguly Says Ahead Of High-voltage IND vs PAK Asia Cup Clash
For this year's continental tournament, India and Pakistan have been assigned to Group A alongside Nepal. On August 30, Pakistan will face Nepal in the first match of the six-team competition at Multan. Group B is completed by defending champions Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
In response to a query on the India-Pakistan match, Ganguly stated that both sides are equally competitive and that the better team will win the match.
He also defended Axar Patel's inclusion in India's squad, citing his ability to bat in the lower order.
"Both India and Pakistan have excellent cricket squads. The winning team will be the one who plays well. I don't have any favourites… His (Jasprit Bumrah's) fitness will improve with time… You can only have three spinners, and I think they did the right thing by selecting Axar (Patel), who can bat," Ganguly told reporters on Thursday in Kolkata.
India and Pakistan last met in the T20 World Cup in 2022, when Virat Kohli hit a legendary unbeaten 82-run knock off 53 balls, featuring four sixes and six fours, to lead India to a famous win in Melbourne.
Both sides met each other twice in last year's Asia Cup, winning one game each. India did not advance to the final match, while Pakistan finished second to Sri Lanka in the summit match.
After recovering from injuries, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Iyer, and KL Rahul will return to India's ODI squad. However, Rahul will miss the first one or two matches, but he is likely to be available for the tournament's third round.
Tilak Varma earned his first ODI call-up after a sensational first T20I series against the West Indies.
India's Asia Cup squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya (vc), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep, Prasidh Krishna, Sanju Samson (Back-up wicket-keeper).