The Virat Kohli conundrum has been on for a while now, so much so that it is not just India but the entire cricketing world has been keeping a keen eye on the star Indian batsman and his form.
Some among the opposition too are hoping he can come out of the rut.
And Pakistan vice-captain Shadab Khan has backed Kohli to come good at the Asia Cup.
“He is a legend and has given some amazing performances for India,” Shadab said at the ICC Cricket Academy in Dubai on Friday.
“He is a big player and we do have the fear even now when he comes out to bat. And we always hope that he doesn't play a big innings against us,” he added.
But Shadab said that he prays and wishes that Kohli scores a century during the tournament, but hopefully not against Pakistan.
“I pray that he becomes the player he was. His performances have been good recently but the standards that has set for himself, it seems to us that he’s out of form. But I wish that he scores a century in the Asia Cup, but hopefully not against us,” said Shadab.
The focus then shifted to the India-Pakistan encounter on Sunday night and Shadab said that it will be a big challenge and there will be added pressure.
“It is obviously a big challenge, especially with the hype around this match. There is that extra pressure. When you start playing cricket, your dream is to play in an India-Pakistan match and perform well in that match. There is pressure but as a professional, we have to control those things,” felt Shadab.
Both teams will be missing their main bowler for the clash and the tournament with Jasprit Bumrah ruled out for India and Shaheen Shah Afridi, for Pakistan.
“Both the teams will miss their best bowlers. But the beauty of cricket is that it is not an individual sport but a team sport. But, having said that, both the teams will miss their main bowler. At the end of day, we have to perform as a team even if we are missing players,” he said.
Pakistan suffered another blow on Friday when fast bowler Mohammad Wasim Jr. was ruled due to a left side strain.
Ahead of the tournament, there has been talk that the conditions will assist the spinners with India bringing in four spinners — R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravi Bishnoi.
And Shadab too felt that spinners will play a big part during the tournament.
“The weather might help the spinners. We haven’t seen the pitch yet and this is our first training session in the night so we don’t have an idea about the dew," he said.
"Nonetheless, in Dubai, the conditions are such that spinners do get some help, even if it doesn’t spin much, you get that hold from the pitch, and you get help from that. Even when we played here the last time during the T20 World Cup, fast bowlers came up with good performances but the main role were by the spinners."
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