Pakistan Captain Sarfraz Ahmed Says, India Are Still A Better Side Even Without Virat Kohli

| September 18 , 2018 , 14:01 IST

The Asia Cup defending champions India will be starting their campaign against Hong Kong but the much anticipatory clash will be up against arch-rivals Pakistan in their second match on September 19 at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Even Pakistan Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed admits that his side will have to perform exceptionally well to outclass arch-rivals India.

Virat Kohli has been rested for the tournament to help his aching back after a gruelling tour of England. But Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed revealed that Virat Kohli's absence will not make much difference in India's performance.

Speaking to media Sarfraz Ahmed, a day after his team thumped Hong Kong in their first match said,  "No doubt he (Kohli) is their captain and a world-class batsman but I think they (India) have a good team even without Kohli."

"They have good players who have done well for India. So I don't think it will make much difference to India. Their batting is very strong so I can say that it will be a good match," the Pakistan captain said.

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Sarfraz Ahmed, who led Pakistan team to a thumping win over India in that memorable Champions Trophy 2017, denied that his team will have a psychological advantage.

Sarfraz further added, "We will not take that Champions Trophy win in our minds."

"That was a different atmosphere (in London) and conditions. It was a year ago so that's history so we will enter the ground with a new strategy and passion," he said.

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly also predicted that the high-voltage Asia Cup clash between India and Pakistan would be an even contest.

Speaking to media Ganguly on the sidelines of a promotional event said, "It will be a 50-50 contest between India and Pakistan,"

Asked if regular captain Kohli's absence would be a factor, Ganguly added, "Virat Kohli's absence won't be a factor, they are a better side."

India is the most successful side in the Asia Cup, having won the title a total of six times, while Pakistan has won it twice.