Minnows Hong Kong defeated the favorites of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday in the qualifying final to reserve their place in the 2018 Asian Cup. The associated nation, by virtue of its victory, will play against the heavyweights India and Pakistan. in the group stages. However, Tanwir Afzal of Hong Kong, in an exclusive interview with NDTV.com, said it will be an opportunity for the team to demonstrate its worth and showcase its individual skills on the international stage.
"The real goal for us (Hong Kong) will be to give great performances and demonstrate our individual skills on the international circuit, there are many international leagues these days around the world, and for a partner country, it will be the best chance for the best team players demonstrate their worth, "said Tanwir Afzal.
Afzal had achieved scores of 15, 5 and 10 in the qualifying tournament for the Asian Cup. He also took a total of three fields in these games.
While the multidisciplinary team in Hong Kong feels that the conditions in the UAE will adapt to both India and Pakistan, it chose India led by Rohit Sharma as the favorites to win the tournament.
"Pakistan and India are strong teams, these conditions will adapt well to the spinners, Pakistan has the momentum with them after winning the Champions Trophy in 2017 and winning the triangular T20 series," said Afzal.
"India, undoubtedly in all conditions it will be good, they have a high level bowling and hitting unit, I do not think Pakistan is the favorite, for me India is … but in the day, you never know," he added. .
Rohit Sharma will lead the Indian team in the Asian Cup after Virat Kohli rests for the continental tournament, which is scheduled to start on September 15.
Afzal said it would be a loss for an associated nation like his, not to see Virat Kohli play, as he could give his guys some crucial advice off the field. He also claimed that the Indian team's batting will suffer due to the absence of Virat.
"There is no doubt that with Virat Kohli resting, India's batting will be affected, he is the best hitter in the world, if he had come, our team could have learned a lot from him. I felt proud playing against him. "
Hong Kong will start its Asian Cup campaign against Pakistan on September 16. They will face India on September 18 in the group stage match.