It’s back. An India vs Pakistan cricket clash is round the corner again, a week after the first game of the Asia Cup 2023 between the two sides was washed out due to rain after just one innings. The rain threat remains for this Super 4 clash as well but the hype has not been dampened yet because of the weather conditions in Colombo. This match will be played at R Premadasa stadium. The Asian Cricket Council reportedly wanted to shift the Super 4 matches to Hambantota in Sri Lanka, looking at the weather but the decision was not taken after discussing with teams.
As far as Pakistan are concerned, their playing XI is going to remain the same. If the conditions are suitable for swing bowling, we might see Faheem Ashraf replace Mohammad Nawaz in the team. Otherwise, the same team which was fielded against India on September 2 should be on the field again.
From India’s perspective, KL Rahul joining the squad has made things very interesting. The wicketkeeper and batter flew to Sri Lanka on September 5 and without wasting any time, hit the gym. On September 7 he did his first nets session with Team India, albeit at an indoor setup because of rain. As per a report in ESPNcricinfo, Rahul looked sharp and in good touch in the nets. He batted in rotation with the likes of Shreya Iyer and Hardik Pandya and played some perfect cover drives. Rahul also took some throwdowns and did some sprinting in the nets.
Like chief selector Ajit Agarkar had said, Rahul looks in good shape, which is a good news for India ahead of Pakistan clash as well as ODI World Cup 2023. Rahul, however, did not take part in wicketkeeping drill on Thursday, which has surprised many people.
So, does that mean Ishan Kishan gets to keep his place for the Pakistan match? That seems right, at the moment. Rahul has not played any competitive cricket since May 2023. He’s just joined the squad. With Kishan already in form and India benefitting immensely with a left-handed batter at No 5, Rahul may have to wait for a bit.
India should field the same XI vs Pakistan like the last match at Kandy. The only horses-for-courses selection could be between Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur.
India vs Pakistan Probable Playing 11s for Asia Cup 2023 Super 4s
India likely playing 11: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan (wk), Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur/Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj
Pakistan likely playing 11: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Agha Salman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz/Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf