Ravi Shastri, Babar Azam, Rohit Sharma
Ravi Shastri, Babar Azam, Rohit Sharma [PC: X/Twitter]

Last Update on: September 1st, 2023 at 03:34 pm

Stay up-to-date with the latest teams!
Join our Telegram channel and never miss a single lineup change post-toss. 🔄📢 telegram

Former India National Cricket Team head coach Ravi Shastri has named Team India as favorites for the blockbuster IND vs PAK clash in the ongoing Asia Cup 2023.

Rohit Sharma-led India will open their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on Saturday, September 2, in the 3rd match of the event at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo on the eve of the match, Shastri said that India have their strongest lineup since 2011 and have an experienced captain in Rohit Sharma, which will be a massive advantage for the side. However, Ravi Shastri was quick to admit that Pakistan are a very good side and they have narrowed the gap with India.

“I would say India start as favourites. This is their strongest team since 2011, this mix of players,” Shastri said. 

“And a captain who is seasoned, who understands the terrain better than most. Having said that, Pakistan have narrowed the gap. Seven-eight years [ago], there was a gap if you looked at the strength of both teams and man to man. But Pakistan have narrowed it down. They are a very good side, so you have to be on top of your game.”

Ravi Shastri highlighted the importance of staying calm in the India vs Pakistan matches and said that the players who handle the pressure well and have a clear thought process are likely to succeed.

“That’s what’s important, keeping calm and treating it as just another game. And not overhype it in your mind that makes you think differently. Your game has to be the same as it would be in any other game. But because of that subconscious pressure, it’s the mentally tough guys who normally get it right,” Ravi Shastri said.

“When you look at the mix of players on either side, they are fabulous. And it will be a spectacle. In an India-Pakistan game, it is about who handles pressure better, who is calmer, whose thought process is clear. Those are the guys who will come through in those big occasions.”

Never go by form before an India-Pakistan game – Ravi Shastri

Former India head coach further said that the form of players is not very important in high-voltage encounters like India vs Pakistan and that mental toughness and temperament are the main difference makers.

“And never go by form before an India-Pakistan game, because the tough-minded, mentally strong guys might not have done much six months back, but come the India-Pakistan game, they will come [to the fore]. They know the importance of that game, they know where it can catapult them if they do well. Their juices will be fired up,” Ravi Shastri said.

Ravi Shastri also spoke about Babar Azam, saying that all the batters should bat with the approach the Pakistan captain does as he is a master in converting his starts into big scores. He said:

“He [Babar] converts those 30s and 40s starts into hundreds. And it is so important. We keep saying to go out there and face a number of balls, but if one of your top three gets a hundred, you get 300-plus.”

Ravi Shastri finished off by highlighting the importance of fielding in the marquee tournaments. He elaborated:

“Fielding will be crucial [too], you’ll have to see which team fields better. Sri Lanka won the last Asia Cup on [the back of their] fielding. They’ve long been the best fielding side in the subcontinent, right from 1996. They were outstanding in the last Asia Cup. They are holders, let’s not forget, so don’t discount them in Sri Lankan conditions. If India’s fielding raises their bar, then they’ll be an even stronger side.”

Read More  Asian Games 2023: Former India Cricketer Makes His Choice Between Prabhsimran Singh And Jitesh Sharma

Sonanchal Gautam

A Professional Wrestling And Hip-hop Enthusiast, Who Is Focused On Writing Cricket-related Stuff 6 Days A Week.