World cricket’s most intriguing rivalry will once again be renewed when India take on an unpredictable Pakistan with rehabilitated pacer Mohammed Amir being the focus of attention in a round-robin league encounter of the Asia Cup T20 tournament on Saturday.
The match will also serve as a pre-cursor to the two teams’ opening round battle in the ICC World Twenty20, next month.
The Indo-Pak cricket contests over the years have carried a legacy, not to forget the political undercurrents involved whenever the two bitter neighbours square off on the 22 yards.
But the most exciting aspect will be whether the tainted Amir gets to play in the XI.
Back after serving a five-year ban for spot-fixing, Amir has started playing for the national team since the tour of New Zealand and this immensely talented bowler will certainly come out all guns blazing against the Indian batsmen.
Virat Kohli has already welcomed Amir’s return but not much is known as to what other Indian players, including skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, think about the convicted spot-fixer’s inclusion.
In India, the BCCI has taken a zero tolerance approach imposing life bans on players like S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan, Ajit Chandila, who have no hopes of returning to competitive cricket.
For Amir though, a good performance against India will probably help him gain some credibility not only in the dressing room but also among the common cricket-loving public in Pakistan.
In terms of preparation, both teams have been suitably prepared considering the amount of Twenty20 cricket they have played in the past one month.
India already kicked off their World T20 preparations in style, having won six out of the seven games played so far. Pakistan cricketers, on the other hand, are coming straight after playing in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), which keeps them well prepared.
Traditionally, India have never ever lost to Pakistan in the global events but it has not been the case in the continental event where Shahid Afridi and co have performed well.