Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir breathed a sigh of relief as Ishan Kishan was persisted with in India’s playing XI for the Asia Cup 2023 Super 4 match against Pakistan. With KL Rahul being declared fit, there were questions over Ishan’s place in the team. However, India skipper Rohit Sharma found a place for both Ishan and Rahul in the playing XI as Shreyas Iyer had to miss the match due to a back spasm. Gambhir was relieved seeing Ishan not being sacrificed for Rahul after the sort of performance he had put against Pakistan in the last outing.
“It would’ve been unfortunate had Ishan Kishan missed out. Shreyas Iyer misses out due to back spasms. It is a great opportunity for KL Rahul, purely as a batter. He is coming off after a long layoff. I am sure he’ll be nervous but it will be a great opportunity again,” Gambhir said after the toss in a chat on Star Sports.
India skipper Rohit Sharma explained the changes in the team, with the returning Jasprit Bumrah also getting a spot in the playing XI, in favour of Mohammed Shami.
Despite the return of KL Rahul, Gambhir feels the Indian middle-order is ‘vulnerable’, especially against a quality pace attack like Pakistan.
“But India are looking vulnerable in the middle-order. They’ve got someone like KL Rahul batting at No. 4. He hasn’t batted for the last 7-8 months. Ishan Kishan has only batted once at No. 5. Then you’ve got Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja,” Gambhir said.
“Pakistan would feel if they can get 2-3 early wickets, they will get into that shaky middle-order which can be a little iffy,” he added.
With Rahul, Ishan, and Iyer all competing for the No. 4 and No. 5 spots in the Indian team, it is only possible for the management to give select two from the three.
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