Akhtar, who is currently playing in the Legends League Masters in Qatar, also wants the 2023 Asian Cup to be held in Sri Lanka if not Pakistan. Apart from the Asian Cup, Pakistan also holds the hosting rights for the 2025 Champions Trophy.
“I want the 2023 Asian Cup to be held in Pakistan, if not Pakistan, then Sri Lanka. I want to see India and Pakistan play in the final of the Asian Cup and the World Cup. Nothing else is not expected to happen in world cricket, just India and Pakistan finals,” Shoaib Akhtar told ANI.
Ever since Pakistan was awarded the hosting rights for the 2023 Asian Cup, there have been speculations that India will drop their name from the tournament. In October 2022, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary Jay Shah confirmed that India would not travel to Pakistan for the 2023 Asian Cup.
The new venue will be decided during the second round of the ACC Members’ Executive Council meeting later this month.
The Indian team last played against Pakistan in the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup which India won by four wickets.
After a wait of 1,205 days, Virat Kohli finally recorded a Test century on Sunday, soaring triple figures on day four of the fourth Test against Australia in Ahmedabad. Kohli brought up Test Century No. 28 after scuffing Nathan Lyon for a single and helping India to a crucial first-innings lead. There was a gap of 41 innings between his last century and this one, with the previous one coming over three years ago against Bangladesh in November 2019.
Kohli scored 186, forming crucial partnerships with Ravindra Jadeja, KS Bharat and Axar Patel that helped India take the lead in Ahmedabad and ultimately qualify for the ICC World Test Championship finals in June 2023 at The oval.
Akhtar believes that with the burden of captaincy lifted from Kohli’s shoulders, he will score runs like a “beast” and cross the 100 century mark.
“Virat Kohli had to get back into shape so that’s nothing new for me. The pressure of the captaincy was on him, finally he’s now mentally free. Now he’s going to play with so much focus. I have a confidence total in him that he is going to score 110 centuries and break Sachin Tendulkar’s international 100 ton record. Now he has no captain and will score runs like a beast,” Akhtar said applauding Kohli.
The “Rawalpindi Express” specifies that Sachin Tendulkar is his favorite counter during his international career.
“I remember once I told my teammate that I would take Sachin’s wicket. At that time we were playing in Kolkata. From the first ball, I pocketed Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket in front of a crowd of ‘one lakh. I still remember half the pitch became empty after Sachin returned,” Akhtar said.
(With ANI entries)