Former Pakistan pacer, Shoaib Akhtar said that he wants the Asia Cup 2023 tournament to be held in Sri Lanka if not in Pakistan.
Akhtar who is currently playing in the Legends League Masters in Qatar, also wants that India and Pakistan to play in the finals of the Asia Cup and World Cup. Apart from Asia Cup 2023, Pakistan also have the hosting rights for the 2025 Champions Trophy.
"I want Asia Cup 2023 to be held in Pakistan. If not Pakistan then Sri Lanka. I want to see India and Pakistan play the final in Asia Cup and World Cup. Nothing else should happen in world cricket just India and Pakistan finals," Shoaib Akhtar told ANI.
Since Pakistan was awarded the hosting rights for the 2023 Asia Cup, there has been speculation that India will withdraw from the tournament. In October 2022, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah confirmed that India won't travel to Pakistan for the 2023 Asia Cup. The new venue will be decided in the second round of the Executive Board meeting of ACC members in the month of March.
Team India last played against Pakistan at the ICC T20 World Cup 2022, which India won by four wickets.
Akhtar was also pleased with Virat Kohli scoring a Test century after more than three years.
After a wait of 1205 days, Kohli on Sunday finally registered a Test century, bringing up three figures on day four of the fourth Test against Australia in Ahmedabad. Kohli brought up Test century No.28. There was a gap of 41 innings between his last century and this one, with the previous one coming over three years ago against Bangladesh in November 2019.
Kohli scored 186, forming crucial partnerships with Ravindra Jadeja, KS Bharat and Axar Patel that helped India take the lead in Ahmedabad and eventually help qualify for the ICC World Test Championship final in June 2023 at The Oval.
Akhtar feels that with the burden of captaincy removed from Kohli's shoulders, he will score runs like a "beast" and cross the 100-century mark.
"Virat Kohli had to get back in form, so it's nothing new for me. The pressure of captaincy was on him. Finally, he is now mentally free. Now he will play with so much focus. I have complete faith in him that he will score 110 centuries and break the record of Sachin Tendulkar's 100 international tons. Now he doesn't have a load of captaincy and will score runs like a beast," Akhtar said while applauding Kohli.
The "Rawalpindi Express" said that Sachin Tendulkar is his favourite wicket during his international career.
"I remember once I told my teammate that I will take the wicket of Sachin. At that time we were playing in Kolkata. On the very first ball, I bagged the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar in front of a 1 lakh crowd. I still remember half of the ground went empty after Sachin returned," said Akhtar.