Former cricketer Wasim Jaffer wants senior Indian batter Virat Kohli to move to No. 4 from his customary No. 3 spot in the batting order for the upcoming Asia Cup 2023 encounter against Pakistan.
Jaffer stated that he would prefer having Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan as the openers, with Shubman Gill batting at No. 3. Emphasising the importance of having an extra batter, he also stated that bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur must be a part of the Indian playing XI.
Speaking about India's batting order, here's what Wasim Jaffer told ESPNcricinfo:
"If I had to pick the top four, I would go with Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan as openers, Shubman Gill at three, and Virat Kohli at four. Then Shreyas Iyer at five, Hardik Pandya at six, and Ravindra Jadeja at seven."
"I will probably go with Shardul Thakur just to make the batting a little longer," he continued. "While you want to play your best three seamers, I think with Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah, and with Hardik Pandya bowling, we have got the bases covered. I personally don't want the batting to finish at seven."
Highlighting the key matchups for the contest, Wasim Jaffer reckoned that how India's top-order batters tackle the Pakistani bowlers early on will be the deciding factor of the match.
"Rohit Sharma vs Shaheen Afridi is the obvious one, but how Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill play against the Pakistani bowlers will be very important. How the Indian top order bats in the first 15-20 overs will be crucial," he added.
The Group A fixture between India and Pakistan in the ongoing Asia Cup 2023 will be played at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on September 2.
"Will be difficult to pick Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah together" - Wasim Jaffer
Wasim Jaffer further stated that India should not play Mohamed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah together in the playing XI, considering that none of the three pacers are handy with the bat.
He pointed out that Pakistan, on the other hand, have the likes of Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah, who are capable of chipping in with useful contributions lower down the order.
"For Pakistan, Shaheen Afridi can bat a bit, Naseem Shah has won games on his own," Jaffer explained. "India don't have that. Mohammed Shami can bat, but not like Shaheen Afridi. In 50-over cricket, your tail needs to bat a little bit. Considering that, I think it will be difficult to pick Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah together."
India's clash against Pakistan will be Men in Blue's first match of the Asia Cup 2023. The Men in Green, on the other hand, have already kicked off their campaign in ODI continental showpiece with a massive 238-run win over Nepal.