Aakash Chopra names India’s playing XI for Sri Lanka T20I series, Shikhar Dhawan omitted
Aakash Chopra has also not picked in-form spinner Rahul Chahar.
Updated - May 19, 2021 5:24 pm
Several new faces will be seen in India’s upcoming tour of Sri Lanka which comprises three ODIs and as many T20Is. With the Sri Lanka series clashing with India vs England Tests, BCCI will be sending a squad of white-ball specialists to the island nation. Hence, many youngsters have a chance to impress the selectors and stake a claim in India’s first-choice playing XI. In a recent interaction, Aakash Chopra named his India’s T20I XI for the tour which includes some interesting names.
Contrary to popular opinion, Aakash hasn’t picked Shikhar Dhawan, who was in sensational form during the now-postponed Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. He instead went with Dhawan’s Delhi Capitals teammate Prithvi Shaw and Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) Devdutt Padikkal for the opening slot. Both these youngsters are yet to make their T20I debut but have been magnificent in IPL and the domestic circuit.
“In T20s, I really want to give a chance to somebody who I would want to invest in the future,” Aakash, in a conversation with ESPNcricinfo, said while explaining his decision of dropping Dhawan. Coming to the middle-order, the former Indian opener picked Mumbai Indians duo Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan, who received their maiden T20I caps earlier this year. These two dashers scored half-centuries in their maiden T20I innings and that too against England’s formidable bowling line-up. Hence, they’ll be expected to deliver if picked in the squad.
Sanju Samson, Krunal Pandya picked in Aakash Chopra’s playing XI
At number five, Chopra has picked Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson, who’ll also don the gloves. Samson was part of India’s T20I squad for the Australia series last year but wasn’t retained for the home series against England. Nevertheless, he scored a brilliant century against Punjab Kings (PBKS) in IPL 2021 and would want to deliver in the national colours as well.
Chopra has entrusted Pandya brothers (Hardik & Krunal) to occupy the all-rounders’ role in the side. Acknowledging that Hardik hasn’t bowled much lately, Chopra opined that he still adds value with his batting. On Krunal’s selection, the former cricketer said that the all-rounder did reasonably well during England ODIs and should continue to be a part of the team.
Leg-spinners Varun Chakravarthy and Yuzvendra Chahal are the two specialist spinners in Chopra’s team, while Deepak Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been assigned the fast bowling duties. Notably, Chopra didn’t pick MI’s Rahul Chahar, who was brilliant in IPL and has also neglected SRH’s T Natarajan.
Aakash Chopra’s India T20I playing XI for Sri Lanka series: Devdutt Padikkal, Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Varun Chakravarthy, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar