The 2023 Asia Cup has already commenced, with co-hosts Pakistan and Sri Lanka making strong starts in their respective opening matches. Team India is set to kick off their campaign at this prestigious continental tournament on September 2, facing Babar Azam’s Pakistan.
In the lead-up to their opening match, former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir expressed criticism of Shardul Thakur and proposed that India should opt for an additional fast bowler instead of the 31-year-old all-rounder.
Given the spinning nature of the pitches in Sri Lanka, India is anticipated to include two dedicated pacers in their playing XI, alongside all-rounders like Shardul Thakur and Axar Patel. However, Gautam Gambhir, a former Indian opener, advocated for dropping Thakur from the playing XI and fielding an extra seam bowler.
During the match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh on Thursday, Gambhir openly voiced his concerns about Shardul Thakur, referring to him as a “bits and pieces player.” These remarks come just two days before India’s much-anticipated clash against Pakistan in the 2023 Asia Cup, to be held at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Balagolla, Sri Lanka.
Additionally, there is concern regarding the injury to the star Pakistani pacer, Shaheen Shah Afridi, which could potentially have significant implications for the Pakistan team. However, the severity of Afridi’s injury remains unclear, with the Pakistani camp hopeful for his swift recovery ahead of the match against India.