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India favourites for Asia Cup, says Akram

Published: Sunday, March 11, 2012, 12:25 [IST]
 
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India favourites for Asia Cup: Akram

New Delhi, Mar 11: India might be completely down and out after their dismal show in the recently-concluded tour of Australia but former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram feels that the defending champions would still start as favourites in the Asia Cup, starting on Sunday in Mirpur.

"After their CB Series run, the Lankans will be upbeat. If Pakistan can play as a team, then they are unbeatable. But India remain the best team on paper. They have the depth in batting, the variety in bowling.

"In their last game in the CB Series against the Lankans, India showed what they are capable of. When a team chases 320 runs and wins with seven wickets and 80 balls to spare against a quality opposition, it acts like elixir. Will this tonic boost India in Dhaka. Probably," said Akram.

The former fast bowling legend though added that it is going to be thrilling championship as India will be desperately looking to come back to winning ways against the likes of Sri Lanka who are high on confidence after their recent show in CB Series in Australia, and Pakistan who are unpredictable as ever.

"MS Dhoni and Co. will certainly look to overturn their topsy-turvy performance in the just-concluded CB Series in Australia and Sri Lanka have shown the world what they are capable of. Add to this Pakistan's susceptibility to surprise on any given day means the Asia Cup has all the ingredients to become a thrilling championship," said Akram.

He also said it would be interesting to see how Dhoni, Mahela Jayawardene and Misbah-ul-Haq lead their teams.

"All three are capable men but right now, Mahela is the best captain in the world. Mahela's captaincy in the CB Series was astute and he is a leader any country would love to have. I want to see how he leads the Lankans in Asia Cup.

"In ODIs, if you want to take wickets, then you have to put pressure on the opposition and that's Mahela's beauty. He knows where to deploy his fielders and when to attack. He is natural leader who has matured with time," Akram was quoted as saying.

Comparing Dhoni with Jayawardene, Akram said, "Mahela and Dhoni are different captains. Dhoni is a wicketkeeper it is difficult for him to guide the fast bowlers all the time.

"But Mahela fields at mid-on or mid-off and is constantly chatting with his bowlers and changing fields. Mahela is very attacking in nature and is always looking for breakthroughs."

The 45-year old speedster said he would be keen to watch the Indian team without their hard-hitting opener Virender Sehwag.

PTI

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