Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes Rohit Sharma-led India will emerge as winners in their key clash with Pakistan in the upcoming Asia Cup and even go on to bag the title.
India will take on Babar Azam’s Pakistan in a highly-anticipated match in Dubai on August 28.
Pakistan have a lead in their overall head-to-head record against India but at the Asia Cup, India have a 7-5 advantage (one no result) from 13 matches.
Ponting, who led Australia to two ODI World Cup titles, said he is looking forward to the match and that the battle will be intense.
“To be totally honest it’s one that we’ve been starved of, haven’t we … looking back the last 15 or 20 years,” Ponting said on The ICC Review.
“As a cricket lover like I am and a cricket observer, any time those sorts of battles come up it’s almost always nice to sit back and watch because everything just goes up a notch, doesn’t it?”
Ponting also shared his view on who he thinks will emerge as the winner. He said it’ll likely be a close contest but India have the edge.
“I’ll stick with India to win that clash against Pakistan,” said the 47-year-old. “That’s taking nothing away from Pakistan because they are an incredible cricket nation that continue to present out-and-out superstar players.”
Head coach Rahul Dravid and the selection panel have chopped and changed the squads quite a bit but India have still been impressive in the shortest format this year, winning 17 of their 21 T20Is.
Ponting added: “It’s always hard to go past India in any tournament, not just an Asia Cup, but I think every time we talk about the T20 World Cup which is coming up, I think that India will be right in the thick of it there. Their depth is definitely better than the other teams and I think India will win the Asia Cup.”
Ponting also said that Mohammed Shami, who wasn’t included in India’s squad for the Asia Cup, could make a comeback for the T20 World Cup later this year in Australia.
“He’s been a very, very good bowler for India for a long time now. If you look at his strengths, his Test cricket is probably where he thrives the most,” said Ponting.
“I think there are better fast bowlers in Indian T20 cricket than Shami and they’ve only named three (for the Asia Cup). So if there’s potentially four named in the squad he might be the fourth man in. I would think they’ll probably only have the four quicks coming to Australia. They’ll still want to bring a lot of spin here even though the wickets are probably not that conducive.”