India will be under pressure, says Sarfraz

Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan captain, fired the first salvo by stating India will be the team under pressure during Wednesday's Asia Cup face-off.

Sarfarz (right) demanded consistency in terms of rules when it comes to playing conditions.   -  AP

No India-Pakistan tie can start without the teams exchanging verbal volleys. Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan captain, fired the first salvo by stating that India will be the team under pressure during Wednesday's Asia Cup face-off, since it is entering the tournament on the back of a disappointing series loss in England and in the absence of captain Virat Kohli.

“As a team, definitely they will be under pressure, but if they look at this event – it is a new event, new environment. Obviously, as a team, there will be a pressure that their last five-six performances have not been good, but I believe it'll be a good game between India and Pakistan,” Sarfraz said on Tuesday ahead of its team's training.

“Obviously, for them as a team, your captain for the last few years is not there. I don't know what's Rohit's thinking, if he's carrying forward the same thinking as Kohli. It could be that there's a change in frame of mind for them in the team. Kohli is a big player, obviously, it'll make a difference for them. But, they also already have the sort of players in the team that have performed well for the team in the past.”

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Having finished the series in England barely a week ago, India starts its campaign later than any other team in the fray. In fact, even before India took the field for its opener against Hong Kong on Tuesday, a team from the other group – Sri Lanka – had already been eliminated. Moreover, the rules have been tweaked by the organisers – the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) – to ensure India plays all its matches in the tournament at the same venue, unlike other teams.

Sarfarz demanded consistency in terms of rules when it comes to playing conditions. “Like you said, even if India lose all its games, it will be here. Travelling is the sort of issue, if during matches you've to travel for one and a half hours, then it's difficult for you.” Sarfraz said.

“I believe things should be even for all teams, whether that's India, Pakistan or anyone else. If matches are played in Abu Dhabi, then all teams must play a game or two there. Now, I don't know what has ACC done regarding this.”