The 2023 Asia Cup will be played in Sri Lanka and Pakistan from August 30 to September 17. Pakistan will go into the competition as the No. 1 ranked ODI team following their 3-0 drubbing of Afghanistan. However, Akram does not believe that one particular team can be tagged as favorites.
"Last time we had predicted an India versus Pakistan final but Sri Lanka won the competition. All three teams are dangerous -- anyone can win on their day. There are other teams competing too. Last time Sri Lanka won the title, India even failed to make it to the final,” he said.
“India versus Pakistan is very important, we know about so much support (teams get), so many eyeballs, so many people (following). But other teams are also here to play so you cannot minus Sri Lanka or Bangladesh," the former pacer added during a tournament sponsor's event.
The 57-year-old further opined that the Asia Cup will test the fitness of bowlers since most of them are used to bowling four overs in T20Is. Since the Asia Cup is being played in a one-day format, the key bowlers will be expected to bowl 10 overs per game.
"Be it India or Pakistan or Sri Lanka, we will find out if the bowlers are able to deliver 10 overs or not, nowadays they are all used to bowling four overs (per game). It is a long tournament -- not a one-off that you can enter the semifinals after winning one game," Akram said.
"You have to win games to get on top. You have to take it game by game. Also, it is a 50-over competition (this time) not T20, which means different mindset and fitness will be required," he added.
India will meet Pakistan in the Asia Cup on September 2 in Pallekele. They will then face Nepal at the same venue on September 4. Asia Cup 2023 will kick off with a match between Pakistan and Nepal at the Multan Cricket Stadium on August 30. The final will be played at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on September 17.
--By A Cricket Correspondent