Former cricketer Wasim Jaffer suggests relocating senior Indian batsman Virat Kohli from his usual No. 3 position to No. 4 in the batting lineup for the impending Asia Cup 2023 clash with Pakistan. Jaffer expressed his preference for Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan as the opening pair, with Shubman Gill taking the No. 3 position. He also insisted on including bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur in the Indian XI.
Discussing India’s batting lineup, this is what Wasim Jaffer conveyed to ESPNcricinfo: “If I had to pick the top four, I would go with Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan as openers, Shubman Gill at three, and Virat Kohli at four. Then Shreyas Iyer at five, Hardik Pandya at six, and Ravindra Jadeja at seven.”
“I will probably go with Shardul Thakur just to make the batting a little longer,” he continued. “While you want to play your best three seamers, I think with Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah, and with Hardik Pandya bowling, we have got the bases covered. I personally don’t want the batting to finish at seven.”
Emphasizing the critical duels in the game, Wasim Jaffer believed that the way India’s top-order batsmen handle the Pakistani bowlers in the initial stages will determine the match’s outcome.
“Rohit Sharma vs Shaheen Afridi is the obvious one, but how Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill play against the Pakistani bowlers will be very important. How the Indian top order bats in the first 15-20 overs will be crucial,” he added.
The Asia Cup 2023 Group A match featuring India and Pakistan will take place at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on September 2.
“Will be difficult to pick Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah together” – Wasim Jaffer
Wasim Jaffer also mentioned that India shouldn’t field Mohamed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah simultaneously in the XI, given that none of these three fast bowlers excel with the bat. He highlighted that Pakistan, conversely, possesses players such as Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah, who can make valuable contributions towards the end of their batting lineup.
“For Pakistan, Shaheen Afridi can bat a bit, Naseem Shah has won games on his own,” Jaffer explained. “India don’t have that. Mohammed Shami can bat, but not like Shaheen Afridi. In 50-over cricket, your tail needs to bat a little bit. Considering that, I think it will be difficult to pick Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah together.”
India’s encounter with Pakistan will mark the Men in Blue’s debut match in the Asia Cup 2023. In contrast, the Men in Green have already initiated their campaign in the continental ODI tournament with a commanding 238-run victory over Nepal.