Team India's playing XI had a surprising name missing from their line-up as they left out Mohammed Shami for their Asia Cup 2023 opener against Pakistan in Kandy on Saturday. Instead, the Men in Blue have included Shardul Thakur in the eleven to supposedly increase their batting depth for the crucial clash.
Mohammed Shami has arguably been one of the best new-ball bowlers in recent years and exploits the seam and swing to take wickets upfront. The right-arm seamer has excellent numbers in the format, taking 162 wickets in 90 matches at 25.98 with 9 four-wicket hauls and a solitary fifer.
Nevertheless, with India undercooked going into the contest, the batters could be better served with an extra batting option around. Thakur, who has played in 38 ODIs and has a strike rate of 106.06 in the format along with a half-century.
India choose to bat first after winning the toss:
Meanwhile, Team India skipper Rohit Sharma has won the toss and have opted to bat first. The Men in Blue's openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill walked out to bat, but rain interrupted after only 4 overs of play, with India at 15-0.
Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah sent down a few good balls; however, they weren't able to provide that much-required early breakthrough.
Meanwhile, here's how fans reacted to Mohammed Shami's exclusion: