Former India opener turned veteran commentator Aakash Chopra has made his predictions for the first ODI between Team India and the West Indies. While all three matches will be played at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, both sides will try to gain an early advantage in the series starting on February 6.
While making his predictions in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra predicted: “Rohit, Ishan and Kohli will together score more than 150 runs. Once again one, two and three – the same story will repeat itself. I feel Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran will together score more than 80 runs.”
Meanwhile, both Hope and Pooran have excellent records against India in the 50-overs format. While the former has scored 693 runs at an average of 53.30 in 17 matches, the latter has amassed 293 runs at 58.60 in seven games as well. And, the veteran stated that the fast bowlers will take more wickets than the spinners.
He reasoned: “I feel the fast bowlers will pick up more wickets than the spinners on this ground. Remember there is just one venue – Ahmedabad and there are three ODIs. It means more grass can be left on the pitch for this match, there will be slightly more help for the fast bowlers on this pitch. So I am going with fast bowlers.”
He continued: “I am also saying India to win the match. India will win the series as well although the team has become slightly weaker because of COVID. But I am still rooting for India. If the Indian team plays to their potential, even though there is no Bumrah, Shami, Shikhar Dhawan or KL Rahul, I feel they can still defeat them.”
Meanwhile, Aakash Chopra has picked his preferred Team India XI for the match. The Rohit Sharma-led side got a big blow ahead of the series with the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer and Ruturaj Gaikwad testing positive for COVID-19. On the other hand, vice-captain KL Rahul is also unavailable for the first match of the series due to personal reasons.
Chopra said: “What should be the batting order – Ishan Kishan and Rohit Sharma make it the top two, Virat Kohli will come at No. 3, Rishabh Pant will come at No. 4 – nowadays he only comes, and Suryakumar Yadav at No. 5.
He shared: “It means you will get the opportunity to play Deepak Hooda at No. 6. It will be delightful because if everyone had remained fit, there wouldn’t have been a place for Deepak Hooda. But now when COVID happened and Rahul is not available, a spot has opened suddenly. So the expectation is that if you have picked him as an all-rounder, you should play him as well.”
Meanwhile, Shahrukh Khan has also been included as a backup option in the Indian squad for the first ODI. But, Deepak Hooda is likely to be preferred. While picking Washington Sundar in his team, Aakash Chopra said that Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal cannot play together now.
He explained: “I would say Washington Sundar because Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya are not there. You have to play an all-rounder at No. 7, you cannot possibly play a bowler. I will not play Shardul Thakur at No. 7 in ODI cricket. So Washington Sundar plays in my team but if he plays, it means Kulcha cannot play together.
Aakash Chopra concluded: “At No. 8, I will like to keep Deepak Chahar. There is a toss-up between him and Shardul Thakur. I feel you should play Chahar because there is no Bhuvneshwar or Bumrah in this team, so you might see more capability of taking wickets with the new ball in Deepak Chahar. At No. 9, will be Yuzi Chahal. Then the two fast bowlers – I am going with Siraj and I want to play Prasidh Krishna. Avesh Khan might still have to wait.”
Aakash Chopra’s Indian XI for the 1st ODI: Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna