Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batsman Robin Uthappa has revealed his probable India playing XI for the first T20I against New Zealand and said that he wants Captain Rohit Sharma and vice-captain KL Rahul to open the innings for the team.
Robin Uthappa feels that India should not disturb the opening pair considering the next T20 World Cup is just 11 months away. The number 3 batsman in Uthappa’s team was his CSK teammate Ruturaj Gaikwad who had a sensational run in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 and has been consistently performing in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Speaking about India’s playing XI on ESPNcricinfo, Uthappa said:
“I would keep the same opening pair, because I don’t want to disturb that because we have another World Cup coming in 11 months. So I will stick with skipper Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.
“At No.3 I will pick Ruturaj Gaikwad because he’s been a prolific run-scorer not just in the IPL, but also for his domestic side in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. So I feel that he should walk in straightaway in this Indian side. He may not open for the side but should play at No.3.”
The number 4 and 5 batters in Robin Uthappa’s playing XI were Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav, and he feels that Suryakumar Yadav provides the flexibility to bat anywhere in the team. The wicketkeeper-batsman in Uthappa’s playing XI was Rishabh Pant. He asserted:
“At No.4, I will pick Shreyas Iyer, he’s clearly someone who takes responsibility and holds one end up. At No. 5 I’ll go with Suryakumar Yadav.
“SKY because one of the most important thing about him is his flexibility to bat anywhere in the batting order. I would pick Rishabh Pant after that, simply because he’ll be India’s finisher in the next World Cup,”
I Think Harshal Patel Is A Very Improved Bowler Over The Last Few Years – Robin Uthappa
Selecting the bowlers for the New Zealand clash, Uthappa picked two spinners Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal and three pacers Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Siraj.
“After Pant I’ll move straight to my bowlers, Ashwin at No. 7, he can also bat a bit. At No.8— Harshal Patel. I think Harshal is a very improved bowler over the last few years.
“After him I’ll pick Yuzvendra Chahal. I was quite surprised him missing from the World Cup squad. And I think he deserves that chance to make that spot his own.
“At No.10 I’ll pick Bhuvneshwar Kumar. To come back after that injury, you need to give him a little bit of a room and time. We have to be patient with him. And lastly I’ll pick Mohammed Siraj because I think he should be an option for us in T20 cricket. It’ll be interesting to see how he does,” he elaborated.
Robin Uthappa also spoke about the newly appointed India Head Coach and said that the expectations from Rahul Dravid is very high, but fans should give him time to settle. He stated:
“Obviously when Rahul Dravid becomes a coach, expectations tend to rise automatically. But I think as supporters of the Indian team we should give him time to settle in and make his space in the team. We can’t expect results from the get-go.”
“Yes we have a great team and results will come our way, but when you’re looking at big tournaments, if he gets 1 or 1 and a half year, he will have his time to build a team,” he added.
The first T20 International match between India and New Zealand will commence tonight at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.
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