Former India batsman, VVS Laxman believes KL Rahul should be given the nod over Shikhar Dhawan to partner Rohit Sharma at the top in the first of the 5-match T20I series against England which commences on Friday at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Dhawan and Rahul opened in the T20Is against Australia when Rohit was injured. However, now since Rohit has returned, Laxman backs the team to continue with Rahul; Dhawan was dropped from the T20I series in New Zealand last year as well.
After the skipper Virat Kohli at number 3, VVS Laxman is expecting the management to continue with Shreyas Iyer at number 4, instead of giving the debut cap to Suryakumar Yadav. Laxman says that the Mumbai Indians star batsman can be picked if India wins the series early on, but till then Iyer should be persisted.
Rishabh Pant, who has forced his way back in the T20I team is likely to take back the gloves as well and bat at number 5; followed by Hardik Pandya at number 6.
It is going to be a tough choice because there is a lot of quality in that squad. But for me, for the first T20 international, I would go with KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma to open, No.3 will be Virat Kohli, No.4 Shreyas Iyer, No.5 Rishabh Pant, No.6 Hardik Pandya,” said VVS Laxman while speaking with Star Sports.
“It is necessary for Suryakumar Yadav to wait. If we win the first three matches, you can play Suryakumar Yadav. You can do rotation in the bowling, you will not get the chance to rotate the batting against this team,” VVS Laxman added.
VVS Laxman picks Axar Patel over Washington Sundar at number seven:
The 46-year-old cricketer-turned-commentator feels that Axar Patel should play instead of Washington Sundar at number 7, despite Sundar’s well-proved potency with the ball in the powerplay and after an impressive show in Australia. Laxman opines that Patel was in superb form with the ball in the Test series and will carry it in the T20Is at his home ground.
In the absence of both Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar is the undisputed choice for the first seamer, so is Yuzvendra Chahal as a spinner. Kumar has dealt with a spate of injuries in recent times – he last appeared in the blue jersey in December 2019.
The former batsman picked the likes of Deepak Chahar and T Natarajan over the likes of Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini. While Chahar was underperformed in Australia, Natarajan was the major takeaway for India. VVS Laxman concluding by predicting a close 3-2 series victory for the hosts.
“The kind of form Axar Patel has shown during the Test series, keeping in mind it is going to be his hometown Ahmedabad, No. 7 will be Axar Patel. No. 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, No. 9 Deepak Chahar, No. 10 will be Chahal, and No. 11 will be Natarajan because I want to develop Natarajan as the death specialist along with Bhuvi and Bumrah,” he further said.
“It is going to be a close series, no doubt about that, but I will still back India, 3-2 for India,” signed off VVS Laxman.