Rohit Sharma-led Team India will begin their T20 World Cup campaign on Sunday against Pakistan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Showers are expected on Sunday so the question needs to be asked whether India’s plans for playing XI be changed because of this very fact? It is important to remember that India had fielded seven batters, including Rishabh Pant for the second T20I against Australia at Nagpur earlier this year which was reduced to 8 overs per side due to wet outfield. Another selection headache would be whether to include Mohammed Shami or not.
Here’s what we think should be India’s playing XI for the all-important clash against Pakistan
KL Rahul: The right-handed batter has been in fine form heading into the World Cup as he first scored 74 against Western Australia in a practice game and then he followed it up with a quickfire 57-run knock against Australia in a warm-up fixture.
Rohit Sharma: The Indian skipper has not recorded big scores consistently, but he is able to provide a flying start at the top and he can also play the waiting game if wickets fall down quickly at the other end.
Virat Kohli: The batter who has 71 international tons to his name, has found his mojo back in the shortest format, and he also can play both the waiting and attacking game.
Suryakumar Yadav: Arguably the best T20 batter going on in the world right now, Suryakumar Yadav holds the key to India posting big scores on the board consistently. The No.2 ranked batter in ICC T20I rankings, Suryakumar would hope to be the X-factor the team desperately needs.
Hardik Pandya: The all-rounder has been in fine form with both bat and ball in hand. However, one question on everyone’s minds is whether he can bowl four overs in every match. With the bat in hand, Hardik can go hell for leather from ball number one.
Dinesh Karthik: The 37-year-old batter is referred to as a “cameo batter” by former India player Sanjay Manjrekar and there is a reason behind it. Coming into bat in mostly the last five overs of the innings, Karthik can go after the bowling from ball number one.
Axar Patel: The left-arm spinner is an ideal replacement for injured Ravindra Jadeja. Axar can bowl with the new ball as well. With the bat, he is more than handy and can hit crucial boundaries.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Off late, Bhuvneshwar has not been at the top of his game, but in Australia, where the ball can swing, Bhuvneshwar holds the key as he can take wickets in powerplay.
Mohammed Shami: The pacer has not played an international T20I since the last year’s T20 World Cup, but the one over he bowled in the warm-up against Australia, is proof enough of what the pacer can do. He can bowl at the start and at the death. Off late, India have struggled at the death. With Harshal Patel struggling to control run flow, Shami might be the answer to India’s problems.
Arshdeep Singh: The left-arm seamer has a knack of delivering yorkers at crucial junctures of the game. He has shown the capability of striking upfront as well.
Yuzvendra Chahal: Leg-spinners have traditionally enjoyed bowling in Australian conditions and with bigger boundaries at play, Chahal will enjoy flighting the ball up and giving it some air.
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