T20 World Cup 2021: Gautam Gambhir picks India’s playing XI opening game against Pakistan; no place for Ravichandran Ashwin

The Virat Kohli-led side will look to extend India's winning streak against Pakistan in the World Cup matches.

Gautam Gambhir and Ravichandran Ashwin
Gautam Gambhir and Ravichandran Ashwin

The stage is once again set for a high-voltage match between arch-rivals India and Pakistan at the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE. The two sub-continent giants will lock horns on October 24 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. 

Meanwhile, former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir has named his playing XI for the Indian team’s opening game. During a discussion on the Star Sports show Follow the Blues, the southpaw picked the Indian batters on the expected lines. He named the likes of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya in the top six.

In the bowling department, Gambhir selected Varun Chakravarthy over Ravichandran Ashwin, who is set to make a comeback in limited-overs cricket for India after a gap of four years. Apart from this, he chose Ravindra Jadeja as the all-rounder and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah as the three quicks.

“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,” Gambhir said.

Gautam Gambhir on Shardul Thakur’s absence from the squad

Shardul Thakur - FirstSportz
Shardul Thakur

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had named India’s 15-member squad for the much-awaited ICC tournament earlier this month. However, some big names were unlucky to miss out from there and one of them was in-form all-rounder Shardul Thakur, who’s one of the three reserve players.

The cricketer-turned-commentator mentioned that he would have picked Shardul ahead of Bhuvi in the playing XI had the former been in 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,” the 39-year-old added.

Gautam Gambhir’s India XI

Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (C), Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (WK), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Varun Chakravarthy, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah

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