The Indian Team Management decided to bench Mohammed Shami in the first Asia Cup encounter against arch-rivals Pakistan played at Palleke International Stadium, Kandy on 2nd September 2023.
Indian captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and decided to bat first. They decided to bring Shardul Thakur to strengthen their batting order. It was a cautious start by Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill in testing conditions against Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah. Both Indian openers survived a few anxious moments before the rain arrived with the scoreboard reading at 15 for 0.
After the rain break, Shaheen Shah Afridi produced a beauty to dismiss Rohit Sharma. The left-arm pace bowler then dismissed Virat Kohli taking the inside edge onto the stumps. Shreyas Iyer looked good with positive intent before Haris Rauf got rid of Iyer with a simple catch by Fakhar Zaman to leave India in trouble. With the scoreboard reading 51 for 3, the rain arrived again.
Haris Rauf struck once again to dismiss Shubman Gill taking an inside edge onto the stumps to leave India in trouble at 66 for 4. Hardik Pandya and Ishan Kishan steadied the ship with lovely shots putting pressure on the Pakistan bowlers.
It was a superb batting effort by Hardik Pandya and Kishan keeping the scoreboard ticking. Kishan completed fifty off 54 balls while Hardik showed intent not allowing Pakistan bowlers to settle completing a half-century off 62 deliveries. Both batters milked the spinners taking singles and hitting boundaries to keep the momentum going for India.
Haris Rauf was bought into the attack and dismissed Kishan with a simple catch by Babar Azam at mid-off. Kishan and Hardik Pandya added 138 runs for the 5th wicket. Shardul Thakur made 3 off 3 and was brilliantly caught by Shahbad Khan. Jasprit Bumrah added 16 runs to help India post 266 in 48.5 overs.
Sanjay Manjrekar said, "Mohammad Shami would've been more threatening to Pakistan than Shardul Thakur. You talk about batting depth, but bowling depth matters too". pic.twitter.com/p9N3gBsHIU
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) September 2, 2023
— Rofl Democrazy (@FakeerHun) September 2, 2023
Mohammed Shami would have been a better option in place of Shardul Thakur.
— Mohammed Abdullah 🇮🇳⚡ (@abbu_SI) September 2, 2023
Shardul over Shami, India's obsession with Batting depth.. #INDvsPAK
— RichGuy (@RichGuy2416) September 2, 2023
Exclusion of Shami surprises me a lot….. Shardul inclusion is nothing but getting "bits and pieces" kind of in the XI which neither good for batting line-up nor bowling!
— Prashant Jha (@pjha2000) September 2, 2023
Everyone is questioning Shami's exclusion and rightly so. But let's hope those questions only remain questions for India's sake.#INDvsPAK
— 𝙋𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙚𝙠 (@Prateekncmishra) September 2, 2023
— SAMEER PARASHAR (@BobbyDeolFanBoy) September 2, 2023
— Subash Bhupathy B P (@subb1508) September 2, 2023
Indian team again doesn't have good quality pace …. Shardul in place of shami dat too in such a high pressure game..wonder what d selectors were thinking… #INDvsPAK
— Raj Kumar (@king_spades15) September 2, 2023