Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra said that the Indian management will have to find a way to include Shubman Gill at the top of the order following his performances against the West Indies recently.
However, Gill may not get to play due to the return of KL Rahul, who will also be the captain of the side against Zimbabwe. Shikhar Dhawan is expected to partner Rahul at the top, leaving Gill to warm the bench.
“Shubman Gill I think is a burning question because it seems like a no-brainer that you should stay with him, considering how well he performed against the West Indies. But I feel Gill will not be able to play as an opener in this match,” Chopra said in his YouTube video.
At the same time, Gill could be tested at No. 3 if Rahul decides to open. Generally, Rahul plays in the middle-order in the ODIs when Rohit Sharma leads the team.
“KL Rahul is back as a captain. I think he will also be opening. Shikhar Dhawan will be there along with him, it will be a left and right-handed combination. It doesn’t matter if I personally would have liked something else.”
“Rahul is a very versatile player, he can bat anywhere, but the truth is also that he has not played since the IPL. So he needs some game time and it is good if he plays as an opener. Then who will play at No. 3? I think that’s a foregone conclusion, if they are No. 1 and No. 2, then Gill will play at No. 3,” he added.
“Tripathi might make his debut” – Aakash Chopra
Rahul Tripathi was in excellent form during the IPL 2022 season and he deservedly got a call-up to the national side. Against Zimbabwe, he may well make his debut, as per Chopra.
“I have kept Sanju Samson at No. 4 because I don’t want to play Ishan Kishan at No. 4. I have got Deepak Hooda at No. 5. After that, I have Rahul Tripathi at No. 6, who can actually bat anywhere. Tripathi might make his debut because I won’t play either Ruturaj or Kishan at this number,” he concluded.
Aakash Chopra’s playing XI for the 1st ODI:
KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Sanju Samson, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Axar Patel, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna