‘Someone from India or me can make any claim, but those are just words’: Shadab Khan responds to Ajit Agarkar’s alleged “Virat Kohli will handle it” remarks

Pakistan all-rounder Shadab Khan responded to Chief BCCI selector Ajit Agarkar’s alleged remarks on how Virat Kohli would easily deal with Pakistan’s deadly pace bowling set-up.

Shadab produced a standout performance with the ball and finished with 3-42 in the final ODI match against Afghanistan as Pakistan whitewashed their neighbouring nation with a 59-run victory in a three-match ODI series on Saturday.

Post-match, the all-rounder was questioned about Ajit Agarkar’s comments on how India will deal with their pace bowling attack, to which he replied to reporters, “Dekhiye, ye depend karta hai on a day. Main ya koi aur, ya unki taraf se koi aisa bol de, to bolne se kuch nahi hota, kuch change nahi hota. Jab match hoga, match mein jo cheezein nazar ayengi, asal cheez wahi hoti hai (See, it all depends on what happens that day. Me or someone else, or someone from their side, can say whatever they want. It doesn’t make any difference. When the match takes place, then only we’ll get to know what is the reality),” Shadab said.

The remarks Shadab was referring to were actually made during India’s squad announcement for the upcoming Asia Cup 2023.

Various videos of the press conference surfaced on social media in bits and pieces. Among those videos, there was a clip on X, formerly known as Twitter, of Agarkar saying “Virat Kohli will handle them”.

However, according to various media reports, Agarkar was never questioned about how India plans to deal with Pakistan’s pace attack.Since 2019, Kohli has faced Pakistan only in the T20I format, in which he amassed 158 runs against the pacers, which comprise Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, and Haris Rauf.Overall, Kohli has faced Pakistan 10 times, during which he has scored 488 runs with an average of 81.33 and a strike rate of 123.85.

Pakistan pacers will be up against the in-form batter in the Asia Cup on September 2 at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Sri Lanka.

Asia Cup Schedule

Arch-rivals India and Pakistan will lock horns on September 2 in Kandy in the 2023 Asia Cup, scheduled to start on August 30, according to ESPNcricinfo.

A total of 13 matches will be played in the tournament. Pakistan is grouped with India and Nepal in Group A, while Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan are in Group B.

The final will be played on September 17 at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

The tournament opener will be played in Multan, with hosts Pakistan playing Nepal.

As for India, the Asia Cup will serve as a warmup for the ODI World Cup set to be played in India in October and November. In the 2018 edition, a Rohit Sharma-led Indian side beat Bangladesh by three wickets in the final to claim the title.

Sri Lanka won the last edition, held in mid-2022, after beating Pakistan by 23 runs in the final held in Dubai.

India’s squad for Asia Cup 2023: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya (VC), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, (Traveling stand-by player: Sanju Samson)

Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (c), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Haris, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Saud Shakeel, Tayyab Tahir (travelling reserve).

(With inputs from ANI)



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