Pakistan's former batting star and coach says that despite captain Dhoni's absence, India are still a very good team
Mohsin Khan, the former Pakistan opening batsman and more recently interim coach, reckons his country and India are the favourites to win the Asia Cup, which kicked off in Dhaka yesterday.
He believes Pakistan is well led by Misbah-ul-Haq, whereas it will be interesting to see how India's stand-in skipper Virat Kohli will deal with the cares of captaincy.
"Misbah is not a very expressive individual, but everything is cooking inside him. He's been doing a good job as captain as well as with the bat. But it is important that every player gives his 100 per cent.
After all, this is not a singles tennis match," Mohsin told MiD DAY from Karachi on Monday.
The 58-year-old handsome erstwhile opener, who played for Khar Gymkhana during the 1991 Dr H D Kanga Cricket League in Mumbai, reckoned Kohli has a huge challenge on hand when it comes to the captaincy.
"Virat is a talented and outstanding batsman, but Dhoni's calmness will be missed. Coming lower down the order at five or six, he has played many match-winning knocks.
That slot will be hard to fill. India will miss Dhoni, who I call 'Cool Cat.' He has a very sensible head on his shoulders, he stays calm and doesn't panic in tight situations. This has fetched him some wonderful results for India.
"Despite Dhoni's absence, India are still a very good team. Virat is a different character and that does not matter as long as you are getting good results for your team," he said.
Mohsin did not read too much into Pakistan's series wins against South Africa and then Sri Lanka: "That's in the past. Who plays better on the day, walks away as winner." He was spot-on.
As the scoreboard of yesterday's Asia Cup opener shows, Pakistan lost to Sri Lanka by 12 runs.
"Pakistan will miss Mohammad Irfan (pace bowler, who is out with a hip injury) and the fielding aspect will be critical too. Overall, I think we will see some attractive cricket from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Bangladesh on home soil will not be easy to beat and as far as Afghanistan is concerned, they have nothing to lose.
They could spring a surprise against any of these sides, who knows? I want to see the Asian countries showing the world that they can play some good cricket and also, play in the true spirit."