Gautam Gambhir names his predicted XI for India's T20 World Cup clash against Pakistan, drops Dinesh Karthik
Gambhir also said that India management has to decide between Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh.
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India are set to open their T20 World Cup 2022 campaign with a highly-anticipated clash against rivals Pakistan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 23. Once again, India will enter the mega tournament as the favorite with a strong and balanced squad. The latest series win against South Africa and Australia will further boost India's chances despite their recent defeat against Western Australia in a practice game.
With star pacer Jasprit Bumrah and spin all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja missing the tournament with injuries, it will be interesting to see India's starting eleven against Pakistan. In the latest warm-up clash against Australia, Indian management fielded their strongest possible eleven and clinched a narrow six-run win while defending a 187-run target.
It is not hard to predict India's top order which has been in excellent form and the management is unlikely to tinker with the current order. The former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir, in a show on ZEE News, has also predicted a similar top-order with KL Rahul and captain Rohit Sharma opening the innings followed by star batters Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav.
However, Gambhir has made a bold prediction in the lower middle order by selecting young wicketkeeper batter Rishabh Pant ahead of the current first-choice keeper Dinesh Karthik in his predicted eleven for the first match. Karthik has cemented his place in India's latest T20I setup replacing Pant, who has struggled for consistency despite being given regular chances. Gambhir explained that Karthik's role as a finisher limits his chances whereas Pant as a floater can be promoted up at the order if India loses early wickets.
It's either Bhuvneshwar or Arshdeep: Gautam Gambhir
Gambhir also surprised many with some bold suggestions for India's bowling lineup. In the spin department, Axar Patel is certain to start every game, but the former Indian opener has selected Yuzvendra Chahal ahead of veteran Ravichandran Ashwin as India's primary spinner for the Pakistan game. Chahal remains India's key spin option despite his recent struggles with wickets but is likely to get a nod ahead of Ashwin.
In pace attack, Gambhir has been very much impressed with Mohammad Shami's spell against Australia in the last over. He said that Shami can be very effective with a new ball and should be in the team for the first game alongside Harshal Patel. But he stated that India should select either Bhuvneshwar Kumar or Arshdeep Singh for the opening clash against Pakistan.
Gautam Gambhir's predicted XI: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh/Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami.