Former Indian captain and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly said that he has no favourites for winning the India versus Pakistan Asia Cup 2023 match because both teams are really good.  The Asia Cup to be held in Pakistan and Sri Lanka will kickstart from August 30 onwards, with the match between arch-rivals India and Pakistan on September 2 at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy set to serve as the Men in Blue’s campaign opener.

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Ganguly also said that the fitness of Indian pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, who made his return from injury and led India to a 2-0 series win against Ireland, will get better with time and India did the right thing by picking Axar Patel in the squad for the continental tournament, as he can also bat well. 

“Both India and Pakistan are good cricket teams. The team that plays well will win. I have no favourites….With time his (Jasprit Bumrah) fitness will get better….You can only have three spinners and I think they have done the right thing by picking Axar (Patel), he can bat,” said Ganguly while talking to reporters in Kolkata on Thursday. 

The squad also marks the return of Jasprit Bumrah to ODI cricket after a gap of more than one year. After proving his fitness in the ongoing T20I series against Ireland, Bumrah is set to test himself in the 50-over format heading into the World Cup. India’s pace attack will be boosted by the return of Mohammed Siraj, who was not in the team for some time due to a sore ankle. 

Tilak Varma made it to India’s Asia Cup squad on the back of his strong performance against West Indies during the tour that ended this month.  Bowling all-rounders Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel are also in the squad to give the captain more diversity in choices. Apart from Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja is also in the team as an all-rounder.

Pakistan, India and Nepal are in Group A while Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are in Group B. The tournament will follow a hybrid model with Pakistan hosting four matches across two venues and Sri Lanka hosting the remaining games.

The six group-stage matches will be followed by the Super Fours, beginning September 6.  The final will be played by the top two teams at the end of the Super Fours on September 17 in Colombo. 

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