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Champions Trophy: No Kohli-Junaid battle in Birmingham

London : Fans across both India and Pakistan would not be able to enjoy a small yet intriguing battle between Virat Kohli and Junaid Khan as the left-arm pacer has not been included in the 12-men Pakistan squad for the high-octane Champions trophy clash to be played at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground on Sunday.

Junaid and Kohli have faced-off quite a few times in the past and the Indian star has managed to score just 2 runs off 22 balls in ODIs. While Junaid has also dismissed Kohli three times and has also bowled 21 dot balls in the 50-over format.

And thus, his exclusion from the playing XI does surprise everyone.

However, Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed defended his decision of excluding the left-arm pacer on the eve of the match, saying, “It was four-five years ago that Junaid dismissed Kohli. But those conditions were different. But what has suited us, according to that we have picked our top 12.”

“We have chosen our players keeping in mind the best playing XI we can have for tomorrow’s game. And I am sure the bowlers that are going to play tomorrow’s game will come out with a good performance and will take Kohli’s wicket,” he added.

Head coach Mickey Arthur along with Sarfraz announced a 12-men squad for the much anticipated encounter.

“Junaid Khan, Haris Sohail, Fakhar Zaman will not be part of the team,” said Arthur on the eve of the match.

The South African coach further said that decision on Fahim Ashraf and Shadab Khan will be made tomorrow, after having a look at the wicket.

He further said that there are chances of Fahim being preferred over Shadab after looking at the wicket.

Pakistan’s 12-men squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Azhar Ali, Ahmed Shahzad, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan, Fahim Ashraf, Hassan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz.

India squads: Virat Kohli(c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami. (ANI)