Kolkata: Former skipper Sourav Ganguly said India are a better team and absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli won't be a factor when the defending champions take on arch-rivals Pakistan in a high-voltage Asia Cup clash on Wednesday.
The two bitter foes will reignite their rivalry in the Asia Cup on Wednesday with India having a 6-5 win-loss record from 12 encounters in the continental event.
"It will be a 50-50 contest in Dubai," Ganguly said on the sidelines of a promotional event.
India are the most successful side in the Asia Cup, having won the title a total of six times, while Pakistan bagged the crown twice.
Rohit Sharma will lead India in the absence of Kohli who has been given rest after a draining England tour.
"Virat Kohli's absence won't be a factor, they are a better side," Ganguly said, adding Pakistan too have improved on their performance.
The last time the two sides met was the Champions Trophy summit clash in England last year, with Pakistan winning the match by 180 runs.
India begin their Asia Cup campaign against Hong Kong on Tuesday, while Pakistan have made their intentions clear with an eight-wicket win over Hong Kong on Sunday.
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The Indian captain admitted that living in one bio-bubble after another in these post pandemic times does add to the stress of being a captain and always subconsciously thinking about the team.
Pujara is India's second highest Test run-getter in the current team after skipper Kohli with 6000 plus runs (6267) in 86 matches but has often been accused of playing an ultra-defensive game which increases pressure on batsmen who follow.
As the Indian captain walks out with his band of men against a side that has two artists of red Dukes at work in James Anderson and Stuart Broad.