T20 World Cup 2021: Gautam Gambhir picks India’s playing XI against Pakistan

Former batsman Gautam Gambhir named his playing XI for India versus Pakistan in the upcoming T20 World Cup. India will begin their campaign against the arch-rivals on October 24.

The 15-man squad of Team India was recently announced by BCCI which also included three reserve players. R Ashwin made it to the cut, while Yuzvendra Chahal was left out.

Gambhir, on Star Sports’ show Follow the Blues, said he will open the innings with Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. India captain Virat Kohli had hinted that he would pair up with Rohit for the opening slot, but the ex-India cricketer wants Kohli to bat number three.

“KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma to open the batting, Virat Kohli to bat at No.3, Suryakumar Yadav at No.4, Rishabh Pant at No.5, Hardik at No.6, Jadeja at No.7, Bhuvi at No.8, Varun Chakravarthy at No.9, Shami at No.10 and Bumrah No.11,” he said.

India has Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, and Shreyas Iyer on the reserve players list. Gambhir said he would have preferred Shardul over Bhuvneshwar Kumar if the former was part of the squad.

“Probably had I had Shardul Thakur, I would have picked him to bat at No.8 and Varun Chakravarthy at No.9 and then I could have probably gone with Shami and Bumrah,” he added.

Gambhir was asked about his views on picking only two spinners in the playing eleven. “At least during the start of the tournament. It is going to be the first game. I am sure it is not going to be a rank turner. Probably going deeper into the second half of the tournament you might pick another spinner but not in the initial half of the tournament,” he opined.

The cricketer-turned-politician further said that Shardul could have even entered the playing eleven for Ravindra Jadeja for him. “And again had Shardul Thakur been there in the squad, could have actually played him in place of Jadeja as well looking at the conditions and you could have gone with a wrist-spinner and Varun Chakravarthy. Then what happens is that there are two attacking options with Varun and Rahul Chahar,” he said.