Teams Set for Asia Cup Battle with One Eye on World Cup

Teams Set for Asia Cup Battle with One Eye on World Cup
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Published September 14th, 2018 - 22:11 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Anshuman Rath, Angelo Mathews, Rohit Sharma, Binay Shetty, Executive Director, Finablr, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mashrafe Mortaza and Asghar Stanikzai attended the unveiling of the Unimoni Asia Cup 2018 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday. (Photo: Khaleej Times)
Anshuman Rath, Angelo Mathews, Rohit Sharma, Binay Shetty, Executive Director, Finablr, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mashrafe Mortaza and Asghar Stanikzai attended the unveiling of the Unimoni Asia Cup 2018 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday. (Photo: Khaleej Times)
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Every tiny bit has nestled into place. The leading men and their personnel are here, although some of India's are yet to arrive following their travails in Old Blighty.

Other than that, it is all systems go for, as they have dubbed it, the 'Biggest Asian Face Off.' Over the next fortnight, Asia's finest cricketers will do battle at the 'Ring of Fire' in Dubai and the Zayed Cricket Stadium in the UAE capital for the Asia Cup.

Coming crucially in a World Cup cycle, as it always is, be it the T20 or 50-over format, Asia's biggest cricketing competition will act as a vital opportunity for teams to ramp up their preparations.

While the 2016 edition was played using the sport's most abridged version, with the World Cup to be held in England next year, this edition sees the teams use the 50-over format.

And while the team captains said that the World Cup still had a long way to go, their one eye, for all intents and purposes will most definitely be on cricket's showpiece.

"It is a very important tournament for all the teams participating and everyone is looking forward to it. Everyone is excited. We have done our preparations so, it is going to be an even contest and I wish all the teams all the very best," Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lankan captain said on Friday.

"Our main focus is on the Asia Cup. As Rohit (Sharma) and the other captains correctly said, the World Cup is too far ahead. The combinations might change going forward but we are certainly keeping an eye on the World Cup," he added.

Sri Lanka take on Bangladesh in the opener at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Mathews' opposite number Mashrafe Mortaza said: "It is a very important tournament for us as well. We have done our homework and hopefully we can put on a good show. We play our first match against Sri Lanka so we are looking forward to it. "As far the World Cup is concerned, it is still too far and there is still some time to go. We are here now for the Asia Cup and after that everyone will play different teams. So, it is a process and we have to go tournament by tournament and series by series."

Meanwhile, Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan said that the Asia Cup will be a chance for them to play against top teams and study them more closely. "All the teams are very strong, especially when they are here to play the Asia Cup. Also, I would like to congratulate Hong Kong. They really deserved to be here. You cannot call one team as favourites because all the teams are here to win," said Afghan.

"The Asia Cup is a great opportunity for us to play against different teams and study them. And going forward to the World Cup, it will really help us. But at a time, we can look at only one task and that is the Asia Cup and our focus is on that now," he added.

Hong Kong captain Anshuman Rath said that it is an honour to play against big teams but added that they were not here just to make up the numbers. "All of us are very excited to be here. It is an honour and a privilege to play against a lot of the legends of the game. We are just going to take it game by game. We are hungry. We have worked hard to get here and we will just keep trying and trying to impress the world," said Rath.

By James Jose

Copyright © 2018 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved.

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