Former fast bowler Waqar Younis says Pakistan have a good chance of victory, but India’s K.L. Rahul will be one to watch. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Former Pakistan captain and coach Waqar Younis has played a pivotal role in many of Pakistan’s victories over India through his deadly pace bowling.

In an interview with Gulf News, he spoke not only about his team but also the Indian team and excitement over the India-Pakistan clash on Wednesday.

When asked about the Indian team and absence of Virat Kohli, he said: “India without Virat Kohli, that might leave a little bit of a hole. India would have had an edge if Kohli would have been there because his presence makes a massive difference.”

He said Kohli’s absence would give a psychological advantage to Pakistan.

“Pakistan will feel good about it,” he said “In the past, whenever India have played Pakistan, Kohli has been pretty good. I remember the 2015 World Cup he took the game away from us.

Younis feels that Pakistan’s confidence is also high especially after winning the Champions Trophy.

“He is a match winner so, minus him, it is going to make at least Pakistan think that they can beat India more comfortably.”

Waqar feels that Pakistan’s confidence is also high especially after winning the Champions Trophy.

“Pakistan have been working very hard especially the One-day team, which has improved a lot,” he said, adding a number of new faces had come in over the last 18 months.

“Fitness is really good. They have been to the Army camp once again just before coming here for the Asia Cup. I think that will help and they look really a very good unit at the moment.

“After winning the Champions Trophy, the belief has come in. In the past Pakistan have played as an underdog against India and this is probably the first time where we feel there is an opportunity to beat India on more than one occasion.”

So can one witness a battle between Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir and Indian opener and captain Rohit Sharma?

“Normally in the past we have seen Amir versus Kohli but, with Kohli not there, things will be different,” Waqar said.

“I feel India’s opener K.L. Rahul is a very good batsman. He is technically very sound and I saw him get a hundred recently. He looks a complete player. He might make the difference and hope he stars in the first game.”

Waqar went on to stress the importance of playing more India-Pakistan matches.

“We are all very excited about and India-Pakistan contest purely because we do not play enough cricket against each other and whenever we play people get excited,” he said. “People are all hungry to see India-Pakistan play and hopefully I am keeping my fingers crossed to see India and Pakistan play thrice in this tournament. It should be a thriller as both the teams are playing extra ordinary cricket. They are both very good one day sides.

“Pakistan is in very good form. They just played Zimbabwe and after winning the Champions Trophy their morale is high. This particular Pakistan team they have been playing together for a while so they know each other very well and they gel well together. India is very similar and have a good one day team.”

Waqar feels that by staging the Asia Cup, the profile of UAE venues will get a big boost.

“The Asia Cup will really put this venue on a bigger stage,” he said. “Pakistan has always been playing here but it is for the first time Pakistan and India is playing in Dubai. Pakistan and India should be playing here regularly.”