The high-voltage T20 World Cup 2021 is just around the corner and cricket fans must have marked their calendars. The gala tournament will get underway on October 17 with the matches taking place in UAE and Oman. While many exciting clashes are in the pipeline, India vs Pakistan is arguably the most awaited league-stage game. After all, the two nations share a great cricket rivalry.
For the unversed, India and Pakistan will lock horns at the Dubai International Stadium in Dubai on October 24. Interestingly, the two arch-rivals have locked horns 11 times in World Cup events and India emerged victoriously on every single occasion. While the Men in Green would like to end their losing streak, India would be determined to extend their dominance.
During a discussion on the Star Sports show Follow the Blues, former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir was asked to pick his Indian side for the clash against Pakistan. There weren’t many surprises in the batting order as the likes to Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya featured in his playing XI.
Gautam Gambhir picks Varun Chakravarthy ahead of Ravi Ashwin
However, the southpaw surprisingly left out veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and picked Varun Chakravarthy as the second spinner alongside Ravindra Jadeja. In Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah, Gambhir named three fast bowlers in his XI.
“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.
Notably, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have named a 15-man squad for the T20 extravaganza. While stat leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was dropped, Ravichandran Ashwin, who played his last white-ball international match in 2017, was called back. With Ashwin being a senior figure and proven star of his format, many see him featuring in the initial XI.
However, Gambhir seems to have a different opinion. The veteran also asserted he would have gone with Shardul Thakur instead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar had the former bee in the 15-man 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,” the 39-year-old.
Gautam Gambhir’s India XI
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Varun Chakravarthy, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah