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Walsh relishing prospect of India-Pakistan rivalry

Khaleej Times 2018-09-13 00:08:05

West Indies bowling great Courtney Walsh is relishing at the prospect of watching another India-Pakistan battle in the Asia Cup and felt that the team that is the most consistent will go the distance.

Ace fast bowler Walsh, who formed a formidable partnership with Curtly Ambrose and took an astonishing 519 Test wickets during his heydays, is now the fast bowling coach of Bangladesh.

The 55-year-old, who joined the Bangla Tigers in 2016 on a contract that sees him right until the World Cup in England next year, said that he has seen many an India-Pakistan tussle during his 17-year career and is looking forward to seeing another being played out in the UAE. India take on Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on September 19.

"The India-Pakistan rivalry has been going on since I've started playing and that is not going to stop," Walsh said on the sidelines of Bangladesh's training session at the ICC Cricket Academy on Wednesday evening.

"I'm eager to watch that game, if I can because I remember those games being played in Sharjah," he added. The Asia Cup begins with the tournament opener between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in Dubai on Saturday and Walsh said that consistency will be the key.

"I think it is going to be a very exciting tournament and the teams that are consistent have a very good chance of going all the way. It is the start of a new tournament and everybody is hungry to do well. So, it is going to be challenging," Walsh said. Walsh reckoned that Pakistan will hold a bit of an advantage and so too Afghanistan, as both these teams have played a lot of cricket on these surfaces. But Walsh said that Bangladesh arrived early to get acclimatised to the conditions.

"Of course, Pakistan and Afghanistan will have an advantage because they know the conditions better. But at the end of the day, it depends on how you play and we have come here a couple of days earlier to give us a chance to get acclimatised. It will be a very good competition," he said.

Apart from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the tournament also features qualifiers Hong Kong. And Walsh said it will be a great opportunity for them to gain some exposure.

"It is very good for the game and it is very good for them. It gives them a bit of exposure. I watched the game between Hong Kong and the UAE and it was a tremendous final.

It is always good for those teams to have something to play for. Being a tournament like this, they want to prove themselves and it is a chance for them to play alongside some top players. I think is very, very good for the game and I'm sure that they will be wanting to do as best as they can," said Walsh.

james@khaleejtimes.com