Veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin feels Pakistan is the team to beat in the 2023 Asia Cup, which kicked off on Wednesday, August 31 in Multan. He termed Pakistan as an “extraordinary team”. The Babar Azam-led team is currently the number-one-ranked ODI team in the world according to the latest International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings.
Pakistan are coming into the Asia Cup on the back of a whitewash against Afghanistan in a three-match ODI series. They also defeated New Zealand earlier this year in the five-match ODI series at home. They have continued the winning run in the 2023 Asia Cup, defeating Nepal comfortably by 238 runs to begin their campaign.
In a video on Ravichandran Ashwin’s YouTube channel, the Indian cricketer shared that consistent performances from Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan will make Pakistan even more dangerous in the ongoing Asia Cup. He said in the video,
“If Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan consistently dish out performances with the bat, Pakistan will be one hell of a team heading into this Asia Cup and the World Cup. It will take some beating since Pakistan is an extraordinary team,” he added.
Pakistan has developed exceptional cricketers: Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin further expressed that the depth in Pakistan’s squad makes them a serious contender to win the Asia Cup as well as the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 which will take place later this year. He lauded the fearsome pace-bowling attacks that Pakistan has produced over the years.
“It is all down to their (Pakistan’s) squad depth. Pakistan has invariably developed exceptional cricketers,” said Ravichandran Ashwin. “Thanks to its tape-ball cricket, they have always produced an incredible series of pacers. Also, their batting has been superior during the late 90s and 2000s,” he added.
The Indian spinner also pointed out that the exposure of playing across the world in different T20 leagues has helped Pakistan cricketers in the last few years.
Ravichandran Ashwin said, “But, the exposure they have got to various (T20) leagues has been the primary reason for their re-emergence in the previous five or six years. They also have the PSL (Pakistan Super League). Additionally, in the recent BBL (Big Bash League) drafts, there were at least 60-70 Pakistan players.”
After a brilliant win against Nepal, the Babar Azam-led team will take on India in their second and final league game of the 2023 Asia Cup on Saturday, September 2. The Pallekele International Cricket Stadium will be hosting the clash of the arch-rivals.