Kapil Dev insists India are still the best side in the Asia Cup, which begins in the UAE next week.
Former India captain Kapil Dev insists India are the favourites in the upcoming Asia Cup even though they don’t have regular captain and prolific batsman Virat Kohli in the side.
Rohit Sharma will lead the Indians in the UAE in a tournament also featuring Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Hong Kong starting September 15 in Dubai.
India lost their most recent ODI series in England and enter the Asia Cup with a few questions about their finishing skills. They were also defeated emphatically by Pakistan in the 2017 Champions Trophy final and now will be without their main batsman in Kohli in the UAE.
However, former India captain and coach Dev said India are still the better team and are favourites in the Asia Cup.
“I feel yes (India are favourites). On paper, India one-on-one is far better than any other team,” Dev told Sport360 in Dubai. He was present as Channel 2 Group announced their partnership with the Asia Cup where they will be providing live commentary.
The UAE is like a second home for Pakistan who have been playing in the country for the best part of a decade. They have an incredible record on the slow and dry surfaces of the UAE and have a full-strength squad to chose from. Moreover, the Champions Trophy final win is still fresh in the minds of Pakistan players like Hasan Ali. However, Dev believes a lot of time has passed since that result and added Pakistan can’t be seen as the favourites.
“I don’t think Pakistan are favourites. I don’t think past results will have a bearing on this tournament. These days you move on in life. No one keeps that in mind for more than six to eight months,” Dev added.
The legendary all-rounder believes the presence of wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in the India line-up gives them a big edge as Pakistan and some other teams haven’t faced them.
“With a new wrist spinner it takes time to understand them. They are wicket-taking bowlers. They can be very effective and that is what a team looks for.”
OPPORTUNITY LOST IN ENGLAND
The Indian team is staring down the barrel in England at the moment, having lost the Pataudi Trophy 3-1 with the prospect of finishing the series 4-1 at The Oval.
India had golden opportunities to win the Birmingham and Southampton Tests but the world No1 team squandered them. Dev said that India must learn from the mistakes.
“Winning didn’t come (in England) but otherwise they played good cricket. They had chances where they could have won the series but they didn’t grab those chances. And this is what cricket is all about. Whoever has better nerves that moment (wins),” he added.