Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting predicts India will win the 2022 Asia Cup and will defeat Pakistan in their first match on August 28.
So far, Pakistan have the upper hand in head-to-head encounters with India. When India were trounced in October last year, the Babar Azam-led team took 10 wickets.
However, India presently lead the Asia Cup with a 7-5 advantage after 13 matches.
Ponting projects that India will beat Pakistan in the first match in an ICC Review statement.
"I'll stick with India to win that clash (August 28 match) against Pakistan. That's taking nothing away from Pakistan because they are an incredible cricket nation that continues to present out-and-out superstar players."
India have always been a tough squad when it comes to their cricket performance, not only in the Asia Cup but also in other events.
"It's always hard to go past India in any tournament, not just an Asia Cup, but I think every time we talk about the T20 World Cup which is coming up, I think that India will be right in the thick of it there,” he said.
"Their depth is definitely better than the other teams and I think India will win the Asia Cup."
Aside from the August 28 match, both teams will compete in the T20 World Cup on October 23.
Ponting loves rivalries
The Australian captain claimed that he enjoys these types of fierce confrontations.
“As a cricket lover like I am and a cricket observer, any time those sorts of battles come up it's almost always nice to sit back and watch because everything just goes up a notch, doesn't it?”
There is still a chance that India and Pakistan will meet in the ICC World Test Championship final next year, and Ponting would like to see the rivalry grow even more.
“When I think about rivalries, Australia and England and Ashes cricket is the pinnacle I’ve always thought of for our Test match game,” he added.
“I'm sure India and Pakistanis will say the same about that and the actual rivalry would be the pinnacle of Test match cricket for those two countries as well.”
Ponting has coached India's T20I stars, therefore, he has a thorough idea of how India will prepare for and perform in future events, including the T20 World Cup.
Despite Mohammed Shami's absence from India's T20I cricket since the T20 World Cup, India have won 17 of their 21 T20I matches this calendar year.
When it comes to Shami, Ponting asserted that the 31-year-old cricketer has been an excellent bowler for India for a long time.
"He's been a very, very good bowler for India for a long time now. If you look at his strengths, his Test cricket is probably where he thrives the most," Ponting said.
"I think there are better fast bowlers in Indian T20 cricket than Shami and they've only named three (for the Asia Cup). So if there's potentially four named in the squad he might be the fourth man in," he added.
With Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel both injured, many speculated that Shami will play in the Asia Cup.
"I would think they'll probably only have the four quicks coming to Australia," Ponting explained.
"They'll still want to bring a lot of spin here even though the wickets are probably not that conducive."