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 here tomorrow.
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. PTI
Expect my fast bowlers to utilise first 6 overs: Afridi
Fatullah, Feb 26: Supremely confident of his pace attack, Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi today said his fast bowlers are capable of sending the Indian top-order packing in the first six overs itself when the two teams lock horns in the Asia Cup T20 group league match, here tomorrow.
"Pace bowlers are the main form of attack in these conditions. We have got four pacers and they are just cricketers who are considered to be wicket-taking. Our fast bowlers will try to utilise the opening six overs by removing their batsmen as that is considered to be their strength," Afridi said at the pre-match press conference.
Afridi though acknowledged that Indian batsmen do play spinners very well. In the spin department, Afridi will be supported by left-arm spinner Muhammad Nawaz, who has done well in the recently concluded PSL.
"I think apart from me there is Mohammad Nawaz who performed really well in the domestic cricket as well as in the PSL. The fast bowlers are also in good shape whether it is Amir, Wahab or Irfan. I think for me the Asia Cup and the World Cup is more important than my retirement and I am focusing on that at the moment."