Anticipation has reached feverish pitch among cricket fans in Pakistan as the countdown begins for the much-awaited Asia Cup 2023 with the hosts taking on Nepal in the first match of the tournament at iconic Multan Cricket Stadium in Multan on Wednesday. The practice session of the Nepal and Pakistan teams at the Multan Cricket Stadium was delayed due to heat. Tight security arrangements have been made around the stadium.
There is more excitement for the tournament this time as it is returning to the 50-over format after five years.
Asia Cup is also keenly followed by cricket lovers outside the continent.
Cricket enthusiasts worldwide are eager to witness the battle between the cricketing giants as also debutants in the continental tournament.
Former India captain Virat Kohli, also referred to as ‘King Kohli’ because of his many achievements, has fans in Pakistan and many of them wish to see India team play in their country.
“Many teams are going to play in Pakistan. If India had come then the excitement level would have been much higher. Everyone here loves Virat Kohli. There are a lot of Indian fans in Pakistan too and everyone likes Virat Kohli. Think it’s the beginning. Next time India will definitely come for the Champions Trophy in Pakistan,” said a local who follows cricket regularly.
The 20-year-old right-arm pacer Naseem Shah is making all the correct noises in world cricket at the moment. In the first ODI against Afghanistan, ahead of the Asia Cup 2023, he bowled five overs conceding just 12 runs and got one wicket.
A to-be-watched player in Pakistan’s pace bowling lineup is their left-arm pacer, Shaheen Afridi. The top batters are also careful during his opening blast.
“We hope that the way Pakistan has played with Afghanistan, it will perform in the same way in the Asia Cup. We have hopes from Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah. No team is weak, luck also matters as in the match between Zimbabwe and Pakistan. We have hope that Pakistan will win the Asia Cup. Best wishes,” said a local who loves cricket.
“It is a matter of happiness that Asia Cup matches are being held in Pakistan. We are not very happy with the hybrid model. It would have been nice if other teams also played in Multan,” he added.
The match between arch-rivals India and Pakistan will be held on September 2 at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy and will mark the start of the campaign of the Men in Blue.
Co-host Pakistan were the first team to announce their squad and Babar Azam‘s side are placed in Group A alongside India and Nepal.
Topics mentioned in this article