Ravi Shastri Picked India’s Bowling Lineup For Asia Cup 2023, Star Pacer Overlooked

Former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri has recently stirred up discussions with his choice of frontline pacers for Team India’s playing 11, raising eyebrows by leaving out the notable Mohammed Siraj, who has been a standout performer in the ODI format. Shastri’s insights were shared during a conversation on Star Sports, where he unveiled his preferred Indian bowling combination, notably incorporating Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur into the XI.

Shastri’s decision to embrace Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur as all-rounders in the XI exemplifies his strategic approach. This move bolsters the team’s batting depth and adds versatility to the bowling attack. Patel’s spin prowess and Thakur’s ability to contribute with the bat and ball provide the team with multifaceted options. Shastri aims to seize every opportunity the game presents by having these two all-rounders in the lineup, adapting to different scenarios effectively.

Shastri’s choice to exclude Sanju Samson from the playing 11 indicates his inclination toward a more stable and conventional wicketkeeping option. While Samson is a dynamic batter with a broad array of strokes, Shastri’s decision to have a standby keeper-batter reflects his desire for a consistent presence behind the stumps. This decision also acknowledges the importance of wicketkeeping proficiency, which remains crucial, particularly in high-pressure situations.

“I think to be fair, I will go with both the all-rounders Axar and Shardul; it gives me an opportunity. And keep Sanju Samson on standby in case something happens to the keeper, where he can fly out. So, now you start with the pacers because, for me, the pacers are important.” Ravi Shastri explained.

Ravi Shastri’s keen focus on the pace bowling department showcases his acknowledgment of its significance in the team’s overall strategy. With Hardik Pandya doubling up as a pace-bowling all-rounder, Shastri’s preference for Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami highlights their pivotal roles as frontline pacers. Bumrah and Shami bring invaluable experience and match-winning capabilities to the team, making their inclusion nearly automatic.

“If you need four over there, you already have one all-rounder (Pandya). So, if Bumrah is fit, he walks in. Shami walks in; that’s two. You’ve got Siraj as a backup; if needed, Shardul can be there. Shardul has done well in the West Indies one-day game; he can be a backup. And then you have room for one more,” he added.

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Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Shastri’s lineup was the omission of Mohammed Siraj. Despite being ranked as the No.4 ODI bowler and proving his mettle as a potent force for India, Shastri’s decision to leave him out raises questions. Siraj’s impressive record of 43 wickets in 24 games at an average of 20.74 underscores his consistency and ability to make breakthroughs. The omission might stem from Shastri’s desire to balance the bowling attack with a mix of pacers and all-rounders, possibly sacrificing a frontline pacer for additional batting depth and variation.

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