Former Pakistan cricketer and International Cricket Council president Zaheer Abbas has backed Sarfraz Ahmed's men to go the distance in the upcoming Asia Cup 50-over tournament, starting September 15 in the United Arab Emirates.

Abbas, a batting legend, also said Pakistan and arch-rivals India will be battling for supremacy in the six-team continental tournament.

He added India would feel the absence of Virat Kohli, who has been rested, keeping in mind the India captain's workload especially after the recently-concluded five-Test series in England.

"The way Pakistan are playing these days I believe that they would be the favourites for the Asia Cup title. Then there would be India and I think that the main battle for supremacy is going to be fought between these two teams," Abbas was quoted as saying by Pakistan daily, The News International.

"That [India vs Pakistan] is going to be the most important game of the tournament. Everybody likes to watch Pakistan-India games as they produce high-voltage action

"Kohli is India's biggest match-winner and his team is certainly going to miss him in the Asia Cup.That said, the Indians have some really good ODI players in their squad."

Virat Kohli
File photo of Virat Kohli during Champions Trophy 2017.PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

As Abbas opines, all eyes will be on the marquee Group A clash between India and Pakistan on Wednesday, September 19.

Rohit Sharma-led Indian side will be facing Pakistan without even a day's rest as their campaign opener against Hong Kong has been scheduled for September 18.

There is quite a lot of buzz around the fixture as the two rivals are meeting for the first time since the dramatic Champions Trophy final, in which Pakistan blew away India by 180 runs.

Despite Sarfraz insisting that Pakistan will not rest on the Champions Trophy laurel, it is safe to say they will have the psychological edge going into the much-anticipated clash.

Notably, India and Pakistan will meet three times over the course of the next few weeks if both the teams manage to set up a final clash.

Fakhar Zaman can light up Asia Cup: Abbas

Fakhar Zaman smashed a double century
Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman.Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Abbas insists that opener Fakhar Zaman will be the player to watch out for at the Asia Cup.

Notably, it was Zaman's century (106-ball 114) that took the game away from India in last year's Champions Trophy final.

The left-hander, averaging 76.07 in ODIs, has grown into a lethal opening batsman for Pakistan ever since the memorable century against India at the Oval.

He became the first Pakistani batsman to score an ODI double century when he took apart Zimbabwe's bowling attack during their 5-0 ODI win on the road in July.

"If you ask me to name one Pakistani player whom I believe has the capability to light up the Asia Cup then I would say Fakhar Zaman. He is in great form and if he gets going then it is going to be difficult for their opponents to stop Pakistan," the 71-year-old said.