India’s Asia Cup squad announcement on August 21 raised eyebrows due to the omission of Yuzvendra Chahal, who had been part of the recent ODI series against the West Indies. Despite not making it to the playing XI in that series, Chahal’s exclusion surprised many. The final squad featured spin options Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, and Axar Patel as the “Men in Blue” look forward to the tournament.
Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly defended the decision, explaining that Axar Patel’s batting ability contributed to his selection over Chahal. Ganguly highlighted that the 33-year-old leg-spinner could make a comeback if there’s an injury in the team.
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Speaking at an event by Cycle Pure Agarbathi, Sourav Ganguly stated, “They have picked Axar Patel ahead of Chahal because of his batting. So I think it’s a good selection. Chahal can still come back if someone gets injured. This is a 17-member squad, two, in any case, will have to move out.”
Looking ahead to the much-anticipated clash between India and Pakistan on September 2 in Pallekele, Ganguly emphasized that rankings wouldn’t be a determining factor. Pakistan holds the second spot while India is placed third in the ICC ODI rankings.
Sourav Ganguly acknowledged Pakistan’s formidable pace attack, including Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, and Haris Rauf, but stressed that the team performing better on the day would claim victory.
“Rankings don’t matter, who plays well on that day matters. They are a very good side. They have a very good bowling attack — Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf. They are a very balanced team. India is a strong side. It’s how you play on that particular day; there is no rocket science to it,” Sourav Ganguly concluded.