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Asia Cup 2018: India a world-class team even without Virat Kohli, says Pakistan pacer Faheem Ashraf

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 14-09-2018
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Absence of Virat Kohli is not going to affect the way Pakistan are going to prepare for the crunch Asia Cup clash against arch rivals India, says Faheem Ashraf.

Virat Kohli had a storming Test series against England, scoring 593 runs at an average of 59.3 in five matches including two centuries. The 29-year-old though has been rested for the continental tournament as the BCCI tries to manage his heavy workload. In his absence India will be led by Rohit Sharma.

Complete coverage: Asia Cup 2018

Kohli’s absence though will not lead to Pakistan letting their guard down according to pacer Faheem Ashraf, who believes India are a world class team despite the absence of number one ranked batsman in ODI cricket.

“Look, India even if Virat Kohli is not coming, India is a world class team. So you can’t take them lightly at any time. We are practising with hundred per cent effort, even if it is a batsman or a bowler and even in fielding. Our job is to give hundred per cent in training and, Inshallah (God Willing), we will surely win the match as well,” Ashraf said in a press conference.

Kohli’s absence though will lead to a huge void in the batting line-up. The Indian captain has scored 459 runs against Pakistan in 12 ODIs at an average of 45.90. It includes two centuries, one of them being his highest ODI score of 183, which came in the Asia Cup in 2012. 

Speaking on his expectations for the Group A match against India on 19th September, the 24-year-old said,

“Our aim first of all is...our first match is against Hong Kong and our focus is on that match right now. Inshallah (God Willing), we will that first match and then we play against India. So after the first match, we will plan our strategy on how to play India. But first up is against Hong Kong and hopefully we play well against them.”

If selected, Faheem Ashraf will play his first ODI match against India.

Before facing India, Pakistan open their Asia Cup 2018 campaign against Hong Kong on Sunday.

Photos: A look back at India's Asia Cup triumphs

Watch: Do India have the best pace attack in the world?

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