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Asia Cup: Ahead of much anticipated Indo-Pak clash, Akram tips India as clear favourites

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has picked India over his home side to win the Asia Cup 2016 fixture that is to take place at Fatullah on 27 February.

The pace legend, who has 916 international wickets to his credit, made his choice on the basis of India's recent performances in T20Is -- first, the whitewash of Australia 3-0 in their own backyard and then beating Sri Lanka 2-1 to consolidate their No. 1 rank in the shortest format of the game.

File photo of Wasim Akram. AFP

File photo of Wasim Akram. AFP

"Yes, that'll be a good game to look forward to and given the way India are playing right now, they're clear favourites," Akram was quoted as saying according to The Times of India.

The only time India and Pakistan faced each other since their thrilling encounter in the 2014 edition of the Asia Cup - where Pakistan edged India - was the group stage match of the ICC World Cup 2015, in which India handed Pakistan a comfortable 76-run thrashing. Pakistan have a good mix of youth and experience in their side heading into the Asia Cup and the Pakistan Super League's success has only helped their preparations. They announced their squad for both the tournaments late on Monday, drafting in Mohammad Sami and Sharjeel Khan into the side after their heroics in the PSL.

Akram also added that the Indian bowling attack was not in the best of shape at the moment due to the fact that the Indian team management failed to protect its bowlers.

"First of all, there are just too many people that a bowler is talking to. The BCCI has to be very strict about it and clearly tell the bowlers that they can only go to a certain academy or a BCCI-appointed coach...The more you start taking advice from multiple people, the more likely you are to enter a state of confusion," added Akram in the report.

However, India have gone for a fresh approach in T20Is of late with the likes of Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron getting dropped for their inconsistency. Bhuvneshwar Kumar too was on the receiving side after below par performances of late but he was drafted into the Asia Cup side as a replacement for the injured Mohammad Shami. Ashish Nehra has made a comeback to the national side and taken over the mantle of spearhead, Jasprit Bumrah's emergence has been a huge boost for Indian pace bowling especially in the death overs. The pair has done well in the two series they have played but their main challenge will now be to maintain the consistency.

Updated Date: Feb 23, 2016 19:42 PM

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