DUBAI: A captain with a new batting philosophy and a master batter standing at the crossroads, trying to reinvent himself, will aim to create a new narrative when India get ready to settle scores with Pakistan in the marquee Asia Cup match here on Sunday.
With no bilateral contests between the cross-border neighbours for 10 years now and nothing on the anvil in near future, the geo-political tension does always make for a heavy build-up.
But the lack of regular games mean that Indo-Pak rivalries are rather held between unfamiliar foes rather than familiar ones.
One can’t plan a lot against an opposition whom a team plays once or twice a year, while one has to expect the unexpected.
Deepak Hooda, although against Ireland, was audacious as an opener but with Kohli and KL Rahul available, it will be experience that will get first preference going into a high-profile game.
A lot, however, will depend on how the trio of Suryakumar, Pant and Hardik Pandya perform between overs 10 and 20.
Babar Azam is very different from some of the Pakistani greats who have led the national team over the years.
Along with Mohammed Rizwan, he forms a formidable combination at the top but both have respective strike-rates of less than 130.
While Fakhar Zaman at No. 3 also lends solidity, the rest of the batters haven’t shown enough consistency.
This promises to be a better contest than the last one. The match stars: 7:30 pm IST.