After their spectacular showdown with Pakistan, Team India is all set for another riveting encounter in the Asia Cup 2023, this time facing off against Sri Lanka at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. India won the toss and opted to bat first, aiming to build on their formidable batting display from the previous match.
In the high-scoring duel against Pakistan, both Virat Kohli and KL Rahul notched up centuries, while Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill contributed crucial half-centuries, propelling India to an imposing total of 356/2. However, despite the impressive performance, one change was announced by captain Rohit.
Shardul Thakur’s omission: Tactical move explained
Shardul Thakur, who made a significant impact with his economical bowling against Pakistan, claiming one wicket for a mere 16 runs in four overs, was unexpectedly omitted from the playing XI against Sri Lanka. Captain Rohit clarified the reasoning behind this strategic decision.
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Rohit revealed that the R. Premadasa Stadium pitch lacked grass cover, indicating that it was likely to assist spin bowlers. Consequently, Shardul was left out, and Axar Patel, a versatile spin bowling all-rounder, was brought in to bolster the spin department.
“Last game was good for us, we batted well and then came out to defend the total with some good bowling. But again this is a new day and a fresh game. The pitch looks different, looks a lot drier and there’s no grass and hence we bring in Axar for Shardul. It might assist the spinners but we also have three quality pacers,” said Rohit during the toss.
Despite Thakur’s absence, Rohit emphasized that Team India still boasts a formidable pace attack with the likes of Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah, and Hardik Pandya. This balanced approach aims to exploit any opportunities the pitch might offer for both spin and pace bowling.
Freshness maintained: Players’ preparations for the match
Addressing the challenge of playing three consecutive days in the tournament, Rohit assured that the players had a rejuvenating pool session the previous night, ensuring they were physically and mentally prepared for the match against Sri Lanka.
“We are going to have a bat. That’s the challenge you come across as a sportsman, different challenges thrown at you as a player and as a team. We ensured everyone got into the pool after the game last night. They are fresh as we had five days off before these two games,” added Rohit.
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India’s Playing XI against Sri Lanka: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan(w), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj
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