Pakistan bowl against India in Champions Trophy

Virat Kohli (AP)
Virat Kohli (AP)

Birmingham - Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and elected to field against title-holders India in the sub-continental giants' Champions Trophy Group B opener at Edgbaston on Sunday.

India left out star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and experienced seamer Mohammad Shami from the side that launched their title defence in a 50-over tournament featuring the world's top eight one-day international teams.

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja was the lone specialist slow bowler in an India attack also featuring pacemen Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Hardik Pandya.

Pakistan left out all-rounder Faheem Ashraf but included 18-year-old leg-spinner Shadab Khan for just his fourth one-day international.

"It is a good pitch and won't change much," said Sarfraz at the toss.

"India-Pakistan is a pressure game, hopefully we play a free game," the wicket-keeper added.

India captain Virat Kohli, who on Saturday denied reports of a rift with coach Anil Kumble, was not too concerned at having to bat first.

"It is a pretty good wicket, it will stay even," he said.

"We need a complete performance to win a game of cricket, today is going to be no different," the star batsman added.

Political interference has restricted India and Pakistan, cricket's biggest rivals, to meeting in a mere nine ODIs this decade, with India winning six to Pakistan's three.

Pakistan, however, have won two of their three Champions Trophy showdowns.

But India were triumphant at Edgbaston on the way to winning the last edition in 2013, beating Pakistan by eight wickets in a rain-affected match.

Before play started, a minute's silence in memory of the victims of Saturday's London terror attacks was impeccably observed by a near capacity crowd.

Teams

India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (capt), Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wkt), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah

Pakistan: Azhar Ali, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt/wkt), Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali

Umpires: Marais Erasmus (RSA), Kumar Dharmasena (SRI)

TV umpire: Richard Kettleborough (ENG)

Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)

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