Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Asia Cup right stage to prepare for World T20: Kohli

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Mirpur (Bangladesh), Feb 23 (IANS) India star batsman Virat Kohli believes that the Asia Cup starting here on Wednesday is the best platform to analyse the team’s strengths and weaknesses ahead of the forthcoming World Twenty20 at home in March-April.

India will face hosts Bangladesh in the opening match, a tournament which will be played in the T20 format for the first time ahead of the World T20.

“Going into the World Cup as I said, the conditions are going to be similar and we will probably be playing all these oppositions at some stage. So, as many teams as we play before the World Cup, it gives us a great opportunity to assess what the teams are like, what the balance is like, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and where do we stand compared to them. You can see it Asia Cup as a whole package before the World Cup,” Kohli said at the pre-match press conference here on Tuesday.

“Asia Cup has always been a challenging tournament, it’s like a mini event as far as the sub-continental teams are concerned. It’s an opportunity to test yourself as I said against the best teams in the sub continent. It’s a competitive tournament with different opposition with different set of skills testing you all the time,” the India Test skipper said.

Selectors have called up left-handed wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel as a back up to Mahendra Singh Dhoni after the India limited overs skipper suffered a muscle spasm while training here on Monday.

Patel has played 20 Tests, 38 One-Day Internationals (ODI) and just two Twenty20 Internationals, last representing India in an ODI against Sri Lanka four years ago at Brisbane.

“With Parthiv coming in, we will have to sit down and see if that situation comes where he has to play. We will then have to sort out a combination, the best possible for the team in terms of the batting order but, as of now, we cannot. Unless we have a decision we cannot sit down and make a concrete plan,” Kohli said.

India, who emerged champions in the inaugural World T20 in 2007 beating arch-rivals Pakistan in the final, will face the same opponent at the Asia Cup on Saturday.

The 27-year-old also praised Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir for making a successful comeback to international cricket after being convicted for spot-fixing.

“I’m happy to see Amir back and wish him all the best. He’s always been a top-class bowler. He’s worked hard and it requires courage. I don’t feel any difference when I play Pakistan, but they are a strong side,” Kohli said.

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