Dubai, UAE (AP) — Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed is taking nothing for granted as one of the most famous rivalries in world cricket resumes Wednesday when his team play India in an Asia Cup group match.
The United Arab Emirates has been the host venue for Pakistan in international cricket since a 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan team bus.
Pakistan won the last encounter between the two rivals — a huge 180-run victory over India in the final of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.
But Ahmed, who has won 18 out of 25 games as Pakistan’s ODI captain, isn’t getting over-confident.
“You could say it is Pakistan’s home ground, but the conditions here are same for all the teams,” Ahmed said. “The weather is similar to India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and the pitches too are playing the same way. So it isn’t a home ground for any team. It is equal for all.”
Both teams beat qualifiers Hong Kong in their opening matches of the Asia Cup and have entered the Super Four stage. Pakistan won by eight wickets on Sunday chasing 116, while India were pushed hard before registering a 26-run triumph on Tuesday.
The tournament, which ends with the final on Sept. 28 in Dubai, has drawn some criticism from the two rivals over the Super Four scheduling.
Ahmed appeared annoyed at Pakistan having to play in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, while India stay in Dubai.
India had their own concern.
“Playing two consecutive matches is always difficult, especially in such (hot) conditions. We are also human beings and we get tired too,” said Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan, who scored 127 runs in the win over Hong Kong.
India are led by Rohit Sharma in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, who has been rested after the long England tour.
Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah and all-rounder Hardik Pandya are expected to play against Pakistan in place of Shardul Thakur and Dinesh Karthik.