Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has picked his Indian playing XI for the match against Pakistan in the T20 World Cup 2021. He preferred KKr’s Varun Chakravarthy over Rahul Chahar and Ravichandran Ashwin.
Team India selected five spinners for the ICC tournament which will be held in the UAE. The tracks are expected to be on the slower side in the middle-east. Therefore, the team might field at least two spinners in every game. Former KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir chose his XI during a discussion on the 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.
“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,” Gambhir said.
Despite great performances in the home T20Is against England, Thakur failed to make it to the 15-member squad. Instead, he was added to the reserves along with Deepak Chahar and Shreyas Iyer.
Gautam Gambhir feels the pitch for the first match won’t be a rank turner
The second leg of the IPL 2021 will be held in the UAE, just two days prior to the start of the T20 World Cup. The pitch will assist spinners as a reason. When Gautam Gambhir was questioned as to why he chose only two spinners, he said:
“At least during the start of the tournament (going in with two spinners). 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.”
“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,” the 39-year-old said.
India will face off against Pakistan on October 24 in their first Super-12 match. The Men in Blue have a 12-0 win-loss record against their arch-rivals in World Cups.