SPO 220825  ASIANCUP PRACTICE INDIA ARAMZAN 5-1661455149683
India's Virat Kohli during a warm-up session ahead of the team training at ICC Academy for DP World Asian Cup. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dilip Vengsarkar, Indian legend shared all the anecdotes of Asia Cup and the contests between India and Pakistan during his playing days and enjoys watching every game even after his retirement.

With the Asia Cup all set to begin on August 27 and India’s big game against Pakistan on Sunday, Vengsarkar spoke about the first Asia Cup, which was played in Sharjah in 1984 and how wicketkeeper batsman Surinder Khanna starred with the bat and made India win both the games. He recollects that during those days there was no roof in the Sharjah Stadium and passionate fans from both teams still came to see the game in the April heat.

He also remembers the 1986 Australasia Cup heartbreaking game against Pakistan, when Javed Miandad single-handedly won the game from a losing situation and hit Chetan Sharma for a six off the last ball.

He added that before this game, India was beating Pakistan in every game, twice in Australia in 1985 winning the Benson and Hedges World Championship. Team India was on a roll and when they came to Sharjah for the Rothmans Cup, they again beat Pakistan defending just 125 runs and bowling out Pakistan for just 87 to win an incredible game from nowhere. India carried on the good work against Pakistan, beating them again in the 1988 Asia Cup in Bangladesh where Arshad Ayyub took five wickets and won them the game and he remembers the brilliant 74 not out by Mohinder Amarnath. In the finals Vengsarkar scored an unbeaten half century against Sri Lanka to make India win the Asia Cup for the second time.

SPO 220825  ASIANCUP PRACTICE INDIA ARAMZAN 22-1661455146537
Virat Kohli plays his favourite shot, clipping the ball off his pads at the nets in ICC Cricket Academy on Thursday. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Balanced squad

Vengsarkar feels India’s current Asia Cup squad looks balanced is hoping India’s bowlers won’t miss Jasprit Bumrah as they have Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya in the pace attack. When I asked him about Virat Kohli, Vengsarkar said Kohli is a class act and he is hoping he scores a hundred against Pakistan and gets his form back.

But he cautioned by saying Pakistan is an unpredictable team and can beat India as they did in the last T20 World Cup in Dubai. He believes it’s going to be a close contest and backs India to win the Asia Cup.