Would have liked to take Virat Kohli's wicket - Hasan Ali
In just under two weeks' time, Pakistan will face India for the first time since last year's Champions Trophy final. Hasan Ali picked up three wickets in Pakistan's 180-run win in that match, but he didn't get to bowl to Virat Kohli, who fell early to Mohammad Amir. Hasan won't get to bowl to Kohli during the Asia Cup either, with India resting their regular captain for the tournament. Hasan is a little disappointed that Kohli won't be lining up against him on September 19.
"Virat Kohli is a very good player. Everybody knows that he is a match-winner," Hasan said, speaking to the media during Pakistan's pre-tournament camp at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. "Despite his absence from the squad, India still have a very good team. They have many more players. The advantage to us is that the way Virat Kohli can handle the pressure, someone else who comes in his place might not be able to.
"As a youngster, everybody wants to take Virat Kohli's wicket but unfortunately he isn't coming. The next time we compete, I will definitely try to take his wicket."
Like Kohli, Hasan is growing a reputation for his fitness standards. His recent fitness test made headlines back home, when he achieved a score of 19.8 in the yo-yo test, well above the benchmark of 17.4 that Pakistan's team management has set for players to be eligible for selection.
Hasan said he was working hard on his fitness with a view to performing consistently in all three formats.
"As a youngster, you want to keep yourself fit and look after yourself," he said. "I have played all three formats and playing all three formats is a burden on the body. On top of that, you need to perform as well.
"Looking at all three formats, you need to increase the level of your fitness which is why I have focused more on my fitness. There is no need for comparison with Virat Kohli. He is my senior. He is a legend. He himself is fit. I focus on my fitness because that brings me consistency."
Pakistan will face India at least twice in the Asia Cup, and three times if both reach the final. Hasan believes India will be under more pressure because of their defeat in the Champions Trophy final, and that playing in the UAE will give Pakistan 'home' advantage. He also said he wanted "all ten wickets" to give his fans the pleasure of watching his trademark celebration multiple times.
"We are on top right now. They [India] are under pressure from the previous defeat," Hassan said. "In UAE, these are our conditions, we have the home advantage as we have been playing here for long, and are aware of how to use the conditions. India are a good side and I wish to take all ten wickets rather than a five-for, and make my fans across the world happy with my celebration style. There is definitely pressure but I feel good when pressure mounts on me because that is where I try to perform and help my side win."