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Shoaib Akhtar with Harbhajan Singh during LLC – Photo Courtesy: LLCT20

Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has expressed his desire to see the Asia Cup 2023 tournament take place in Sri Lanka if Pakistan is not able to host it.

Akhtar, who is currently participating in the Legends League Masters in Qatar, also hopes to witness India and Pakistan facing off in the finals of both the Asia Cup and the World Cup.

In addition to the Asia Cup, Pakistan has been granted 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 in a media interview.

There has been speculation that India may withdraw its name from the 2023 Asia Cup, which was awarded to Pakistan as the host nation. In October 2022, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah confirmed that India would not travel to Pakistan for the tournament.

The Executive Board meeting of ACC members will decide the new venue in March. The last time India played against Pakistan was at the ICC T20 World Cup 2022, which India won by four wickets.

Shoaib Akhtar believes that with the burden of captaincy removed from Kohli’s shoulders, he will score runs like a “beast” and surpass Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 100 international tons. According to Akhtar, Kohli had to get back in form, and the pressure of captaincy was on him. He now believes that Kohli is mentally free and will play with a lot of focus, ultimately scoring 110 centuries.

“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-century and break the record of Sachin Tendulkar’s 100 international tons. Now He doesn’t have a load of captaincy and will score run like a beast,” Akhtar said while applauding Kohli.

“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.