As India gears up for the World Cup 2023, former cricketer and renowned broadcaster Aakash Chopra has thrown his weight behind the inclusion of fast bowler Mohammed Siraj, favoring him over Shardul Thakur and Prasidh Krishna.
Interestingly, Siraj, Shardul, and Prasidh are all part of the 17-member squad bound for the imminent Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, scheduled to commence on August 30.
In the lead-up to the ODI World Cup 2023, Chopra stressed the importance of entrusting Siraj with a pivotal role in the Indian setup, especially in conditions typical of the Asian subcontinent.
Mohammed Siraj could have huge impact at World Cup 2023
“Mohammed Siraj is brilliant. He has had a short career. 43 wickets in 24 matches at an average of 20.7 and an economy rate of 4.78. They are better than both Bumrah's and Shami's numbers. In Asia, his average becomes 16.57 and economy rate is 4.51,” Chopra expressed during one of his YouTube broadcasts.
“His numbers in Asia are better than his numbers outside Asia. So, people who were talking about whether Shardul Thakur or Prasidh Krishna can be played instead of Siraj, you cannot play anyone. You will have to play Siraj only. You should play him,” he added, emphasizing the statistics that back Siraj's prowess.
While the final squad for the World Cup remains undecided, pending the outcome of the Asia Cup, the trio of fast bowlers will be eager to make their mark and secure their spots.
The Asia Cup, seen as a dress rehearsal for the forthcoming ICC event, offers them a vital opportunity to shine on the international stage.
Meanwhile, members of the Asia Cup squad are currently engaged in a five-day skill-enhancement camp in Alur, Karnataka.
The Indian team will commence their Asia Cup campaign with a high-stakes encounter against arch-rivals Pakistan at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy on September 2.
The team management's objective is to forge a strong core unit for the prestigious ICC event scheduled to take place in India, commencing on October 5.
Further chances to solidify the squad will come during the ODI series against Australia, which is set to follow the Asia Cup 2023.