Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has picked India’s playing XI against Pakistan for the opening match of the T20 World Cup.
Gambhir excluded Ravichandran Ashwin from the final XI, who has been included in the limited-overs team after a long of four years.
The former Delhi player wants Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul to open the innings for the Indian team. Both of these openers had shown good form in the recent Test series against England.
Gambhir backed Indian captain Virat Kohli to bat one down whereas Suryakumar Yadav will bat at number four.
Rishabh Pant will bat at number five, all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja at six and seven respectively for Gambhir. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami constitute the pace battery for the former KKR captain whereas Varun Chakravarthy is the main spinner.
Gautam Gambhir said while to Star Sports show Follow the Blues, “KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma to open the batting, Virat Kohli to bat at No.3, Suryakumar Yadav at No.4, Rishabh Pant at No.5, Hardik at No.6, Jadeja at No.7, Bhuvi at No.8, Varun Chakravarthy at No.9, Shami at No.10 and Bumrah No.11.”
Meanwhile, Gambhir added that he would have picked Shardul Thakur in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar had the former being included in India’s T20 World Cup squad. Thakur is part of stand-by players along with Deepak Chahar and Shreyas Iyer.
“Probably had I had Shardul Thakur, I would have picked him to bat at No.8 and Varun Chakravarthy at No.9 and then I could have probably gone with Shami and Bumrah.”
The big match between India and Pakistan will be played in Dubai and Gambhir is happy to play with two spinners as he feels the pitch is not going to be a rank turner.
“At least during the start of the tournament. It is going to be the first game. I am sure it is not going to be a rank turner. Probably going deeper into the second half of the tournament you might pick another spinner but not in the initial half of the tournament.”
Gambhir added that the team could have also played Shardul Thakur in place of Ravindra Jadeja depending on the pitch conditions.
“And again had Shardul Thakur been there in the squad, could have actually played him in place of Jadeja as well looking at the conditions and you could have gone with a wrist-spinner and Varun Chakravarthy. Then what happens is that there are two attacking options with Varun and Rahul Chahar.”