Asia Cup 2018: Virat Kohli’s absence has weakened India, says Manjrekar

first_imgFormer Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar feels that Pakistan are the favourite to win the Asia Cup 2018 while India are one of the favourites to lift the title.Pakistan have begun their Asia Cup campaign routing minnows Hong Kong by eight wickets Sunday.India, led by skipper Rohit Sharma, would start their campaign Tuesday against Hong Kong, which is a dress rehearsal for their marquee clash with arch-rivals Pakistan the next day.Manjrekar said Pakistan have the best idea of the conditions in UAE as they play there regularly and the advantage will play in their favour.Asia Cup 2018: Favourites India eye easy win against Hong Kong”I think Pakistan start as favourites more than India, because they have been playing in those conditions (in the UAE) for a while now and it’s a team which is on the surge.”India, of course, are resting Virat (Kohli), which takes a lot of strength away from the team,” Manjrekar said.He was quizzed whether in the absence of Kohli, India were the favourites going into the tournament.SALAAM CRICKET 2018 FULL COVERAGE”India are obviously one of the contenders, but when you look at favouritism, (question arises) which team can be rated as the strongest.”It’s Pakistan because of where it (the tournament) is being played,” explained Manjrekar.According to Manjrekar, who donned the national colour in 37 Tests and 74 One Day Internationals, the wrist spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav has made the Indian team more balanced.Asia Cup 2018: India a better side even without Virat Kohli, says Sourav Gangulyadvertisement”India is a very good 50 overs outfit. India in the Test matches struggled a bit overseas, but if you look at their 50-over record, its very good in all conditions.”Earlier, India had batting strength but the bowling did not quite measure up.Now they also have game changers in the middle, so the team wins more matches than it used to because of Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the middle. It’s a more balanced 50 overs team in a long, long time,” said Manjrekar.Virat Kohli’s absence big relief for Pakistan bowlers: Misbah-ul-HaqIndia are trying to settle their middle order woes and Manjrekar insisted that Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer should get a look-in ahead of the next year’s ICC World Cup in England.”At the moment Ambati Rayadu, Dinesh Karthik and Manish Pandey are in the fray. Kedar Jadhav is also there, but I would like to see Shreyas Iyer get a look-in before the World Cup. KL Rahul will get (to bat at) number three, because Virat is not there,” he said.”We will have a look at him (Rahul) and he is also another middle order option for India. So it is very important (to settle middle order woes).”Because India need a couple of in-form reliable middle-order batsmen. So every match from now on would actually be about settling that (middle order) issue and most of the other areas are taken care of,” he signed off.(With PTI inputs)last_img