Last Updated: September 03, 2023, 07:00 IST
In what was an intriguing call, India decided to not play experienced Mohammed Shami in their Asia Cup 2023 opener against Pakistan which eventually ended in a no result thanks to rain on Saturday. India were bowled out for 266 but Pakistan didn’t get to bat with rain forcing the match to be called off and the teams taking a point each.
India opted for Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj as their two frontline pacers with Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur as the two fast bowling allrounders.
Thakur is also known for his batting prowess, capable of playing big shots as he has shown in the past. The idea behind his inclusion could be to add more depth to the batting line-up.
However, former India cricketer and now a popular commentator Sanjay Manjrekar is against the thought that teams are always thinking about depth in their batting and ignoring to shore up their bowling resources.
“I am against this thought. People talk about batting depth but what about bowling depth?” Manjrekar said while analysing India’s playing XI for the Pakistan fixture on Star Sports.
Manjrekar was critical of the decision to bench Shami for someone like Thakur and claimed it’s a sign that India aren’t too confident about their batting.
“Isn’t Mohammed Shami more a threat to Pakistan batters than Shardul Thakur? I wouldn’t worry about batting depth but leaving someone put like a Shami especially on a surface where you see the ball seam around, India should have gone with three quality seamers. It just shows signs of insecurity and not trust you batters in (Ravindra) Jadeja at No.7,” he said.
Former India head coach Ravi Shastri was also ‘surprised’ by Shami’s exclusion.
“One surprise there is no Shami, there must be something to it,” he said.
Thakur came in to bat late in the Indian innings but managed run-a-ball 3 before being dismissed by Naseem Shah. India were eventually bowled out for 266 in 48.5 overs.
The results means Pakistan have now 3 points and become the first team to advance to the Super Fours round while India will face Nepal in their final group match on Monday.
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