Chris Holland on 03 11, 2012
India and Pakistan have a chance to take another cricket competition after almost a year’s break when they take part in the Asia Cup one-day tournament starting in Dhaka on Sunday after world cup.
Sri Lanka and hosts Bangladesh, the other two teams in the fray to determine one-day supremacy on the continent, play the opening match at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Dhaka.
Pakistan ‘Not looking for revenge against India’ in Asia cup.
But the passion and the focus is already on the March 18th, the first between the arch-rivals since the high-profile World Cup semi-final at Mohali last March, which India won on their way to clinching the showpiece title.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, whose team were blanked 4-0 by England recently, said the match against India would be a highlight. He said, “Against India it is something special because of the supporters of Pakistan and India.”
Everyone wants to enjoy India-Pakistan competition and that adds to the pressure. But They want to play good cricket and improve their own performance. It’s going to be a tough tournament.
India severed cricket links with its neighbour after the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks, which New Delhi blamed on militants based across the border in Pakistan.
The Asia Cup will be the first acid test for new Pakistan coach Dav Whatmore, the former Australian international who guided Sri Lanka to World Cup glory in 1996.
This tournament provides another chance for Indian batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar with yet another opportunity to record an unprecedented 100th international.
The world record-holder has passed a year without a three-figure knock since scoring his 99th century in a World Cup match against South Africa in Nag pur last March.
India won the last Asia Cup title in Sri Lanka in 2010, have rested hard-hitting opener Virender Sehwag and key paceman Zaheer Khan in this tournament, but will feel at home on the low, slow pitches in Dhaka.
Sri Lanka, who finished runners-up to India in the World Cup VB series, have produced encouraging results after reappointing Mahela Jayawardene as captain and South African Graham Ford as coach.
They not only knocked India out of the recent tri-series in Australia, but also gave the hosts a close run before losing the best-of-three final 2-1.
Bangladesh are boosted by the return of opener Tamim Iqbal, who was initially dropped by the country’s cricket chief before being added as a 15th member of the squad on Thursday.
Each side will play the other once in the round-robin league, with the top two advancing to the final on March 22.