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Asia Cup 2018: Pakistan's opportunity against a sans-Kohli India

Sapan Shikhar
847   //    11 Sep 2018, 08:16 IST

India v Pakistan - 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup

 India vs Pakistan game is not just a game of cricket, it's much more than that.

The countdown begins for the Asia Cup clash between the arch-rivals India and Pakistan. India would be looking to take the revenge of Champions Trophy 2017 and Pakistan would be searching for their Mauka without Kohli.

The excitement level for this clash has begun to rise as 19th September is inching closer. People eagerly wait for an Indo-Pak clash in cricket. India hasn’t played a bilateral series against Pakistan in the recent past. This is where ICC comes to the rescue by bringing up one or the other tournaments such as the World Cup, Champions Trophy, Asia Cup.

Every Indian reading this article would agree that right from the National anthem to the end of the match, we witness many Goosebumps Moments. Sometimes we get excited, nervous and when our heart rate goes up we resort to various weird superstitions. And of course, prayers are made to every God all across India. If we can feel so many different emotions just while sitting in front of the TV, imagine the mindset of players.

It is very easy to say but really difficult to hold onto the nerves while playing in front of thousands of spectators while knowing the fact that a billion more people would be watching their every move. Not only the build-up but also the reactions after the match have a lot of emotions and we can see fans of both the nations debating each other on social media.

On a serious note, there have been many memorable encounters between both the nations in Asia Cup. Pakistan fans would cherish Afridi’s two sixes to Ashwin whereas Indians would love to see Amir get smashed in the same way Bhajji smashed him in Asia Cup 2010.

If someone is most capable of tackling Amir in the Indian side, it is the modern day great Virat Kohli who won’t be playing this Asia Cup. India might not miss CAPTAIN Kohli but they would definitely miss the BATSMAN Kohli against the street-smart Pakistani bowling attack who would have their tails up to dismantle the Indian top order.

India has the cool veteran in the name of MS Dhoni who would love to bring his best against his favourite opponents. Along with MS Dhoni, the responsibility to sail Indian team's ship would be in the hands of our openers - Dhawan and Rohit. So the absence of Kohli may answer the following questions to Indian fans:-

  1. Is India too dependent on Virat Kohli in shorter formats as well?
  2. Is our middle order capable & stable enough to handle the pressure?
  3. Which Indian batsman will seal the deal by grabbing this opportunity & make it to the World Cup 2019 squad?

Although it is an age-old rivalry, it is fair enough to say that there is intense love and respect for the game on either side of the border as we have seen mutual appreciation between players of both countries in the recent times.

There is nothing much to separate between the two teams in Asia Cup in terms of Head to Head stats as India have won 6 times and Pakistan have won 5 times in 12 matches they have faced each other.

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