Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has expressed his opinion on India’s strategic choice in the 2023 World Cup final against Australia, stating that the decision to give the new ball to Mohammed Shami instead of Mohammed Siraj was a sign of panic.

In the crucial match at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, India, defending a below-par total of 240, surprised many by opting for Shami as the new ball bowler. Although Shami managed to dismiss David Warner early on, he struggled to control the swing, allowing Australia to make a rapid start to their chase.

Speaking to Sportskeeda, Akram criticized India’s decision, suggesting that they should have stuck to the proven strategy of opening the bowling with Siraj and bringing Shami on later in the innings.

“They panicked. Shami has been effective against left-handers and has bowled well from around the wicket. Travis Head managed to face him. Shami also bowled a couple of wide balls. In my opinion, Siraj should have bowled 2-3 overs initially because he can swing the ball,” Akram said.

The legendary fast bowler pointed out that Shami might not have mentally prepared to take the new ball.

“In his usual role, Shami comes in as the first change, where the ball is more controllable due to its slightly older condition. The decision to give him the new ball in the World Cup final is unconventional thinking, and I support it. However, Siraj should have bowled 2-3 overs at the beginning. If nothing significant occurred, Shami could have been brought in as the first change,” he added.