Team India were the first to qualify for the 2023 Asia Cup final earlier this week, defeating Pakistan and Sri Lanka on consecutive days in Colombo. The team cruised to a 228-run victory against archrival Pakistan before keeping their nerve to defeat hosts Sri Lanka by 41 runs in a low-scoring thriller.
India’s bowling effort was superb in both matches, as the team reduced the opponents to 128 (against Pakistan) and 172 (vs Sri Lanka).
In contrast to recent months, there has been minimal fiddling with the team lineup, with Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj being the first-choice pacers for the Asia Cup. Bumrah only missed one game, against Nepal, owing to personal circumstances, and Mohammed Shami took his place in the group match.
Shami’s omission from the playing XI raised many eyebrows, as he had been one of the side’s first-choice pacers for many years across formats.
However, prior of India’s last Super Four Stage match against Bangladesh, Paras Mhambrey, India’s bowling coach, indicated that the decision to leave Mohammed Shami out of the playing XI was decided in the best interests of the team. Shami took one wicket while surrendering 29 runs in his last debut against Nepal.
“It’s not simple to let someone like Shami go. He has a wealth of knowledge and has delivered outstanding results for the country. “It’s never easy to have that conversation (about dropping a player),” he remarked.
Mhambrey stated that while speaking on Live cricket scores podcast, while it was a tough decision, the player in question had been informed fully of the team’s decision. “However, we have been clear in how we have approached the conversation with the players, and they have shown confidence in us.”
“Players understand that any decision we make is for the benefit of the team,” Mhambrey added.
Team India will face their opponent in the Asia Cup final, with one of Sri Lanka or Pakistan set to compete for the second spot. The match between the two teams, planned for Thursday, thus becomes a virtual knock-out; however, the weather conditions in Colombo haven’t been entirely favourable, and the toss for the game has been delayed, with rain hampering activities in the continental event.