In a pivotal ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 showdown between Afghanistan and India, the toss played a crucial role in setting the stage for the match. Hashmatullah Shahidi, the captain of the Afghanistan cricket team, won the toss and opted to bat, expressing confidence in the pitch’s batting-friendly conditions. On the other hand, Rohit Sharma, India’s captain, took the toss outcome in stride, revealing his preference to chase given the dew factor’s potential impact. India made a notable alteration to their playing XI, raising eyebrows among cricket enthusiasts and pundits.

Hashmatullah Shahidi’s decision to bat first after winning the toss showcased his belief in the pitch’s suitability for batting. Afghanistan aimed to set a challenging target for India, setting the stage for an intense contest. In contrast, Rohit Sharma, India’s captain, remained unfazed by losing the toss, as he preferred his team to bat second, factoring in the influence of dew during the latter part of the match.

Sunil Gavaskar Furious On Exclusion Of Ravichandran Ashwin From India’s Playing XI

In India’s playing XI, a significant modification was witnessed as Ravichandran Ashwin, a prominent spin bowler, was excluded from the squad. The unexpected choice of Shardul Thakur over Mohammed Shami raised questions and raised some eyebrows among cricket enthusiasts and experts.

Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar expressed his surprise regarding the omission of Mohammed Shami, highlighting Shami’s extraordinary ability to turn the tide of a game with his remarkable bowling performances. Gavaskar specifically referenced Shami’s memorable hat-trick in India’s previous encounter with Afghanistan during the 2019 World Cup.

Gavaskar stated, “I don’t know what he’s (Ashwin) done wrong, but there you are. It is a difficult call; as a group, you look to try and give as many players an outing. I would have thought, what Shami did against Afghanistan in 2019, turning the match in India’s way, he would get a go.”

“It is just a psychological thing, here’s a man who took a hat trick… I know, there will be a few changes in the Afghanistan XI from 2019, but well. It’s a call that has been made. Ashwin is used to being left out of the team, it is only going to make him more determined.”

In contrast to the Indian team changes, Afghanistan opted to stick with the same playing XI from their previous match against Bangladesh, despite suffering a six-wicket defeat in Dharamsala. The Afghan side remained resolute in staging a strong comeback and aiming to produce an upset against the home team in Delhi, setting the stage for a compelling and highly anticipated encounter.

After this match, the ‘Men In Blue’ will move to Ahmedabad for the much-awaited India-Pakistan clash which will take place on 14th October. It is predicted that India might go with Ravichandran Ashwin in that match as he can provide depth in the batting department too.

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