Former India player turned commentator Aakash Chopra has selected his preferred Indian XI for the 1st ODI against the West Indies. He wants the team to include Umran Malik on the side. The first match of the three-match ODI series will take place in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Thursday, July 27. And, Umran is among the five seamers in the 17-member Indian squad as well.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra named Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill as his two openers, claiming: “In my opinion, India will start with Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma. Ishan Kishan’s name will come in your mind but you won’t play him, at least at the top of the order. Rohit Sharma will expect to play a similar knock to the one he played in the second innings in Trinidad. Shubman Gill will slightly forget red-ball cricket.”
He also chose Suryakumar Yadav and Sanju Samson before Ishan Kishan in the middle order, saying: “After that, Virat Kohli will come at No. 3. So I have not given Ishan Kishan a spot and the team might also not give him a place at the start as one, two or three. But can they give him a place at four or five, that’s a big question. I am keeping Suryakumar Yadav and Sanju Samson at No. 4 and No. 5.”
However, Aakash Chopra further added that he would like to pick Kishan in the middle order if he is in the World Cup scheme of things as well. He also added that either Suryakumar Yadav or Sanju Samson will have to make way in such a case. And, he wants India to play both Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel in the playing XI as well.
“Hardik Pandya will play at No. 6. After that, Ravindra Jadeja at No. 7. If you are looking for another batter at No. 8, you will have two options – Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur. Axar Patel might get my vote for the simple reason that I might not need Shardul Thakur if Hardik Pandya is giving me overs.”
The veteran commentator also picked Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, and Umran Malik as his three specialist bowlers. He also explained why Umran should be there in India’s playing XI.
“Then I will have Kuldeep Yadav at No. 9. So I will want to go with three spinners unless the pitch has a lot of grass and sideways movement is available. After that, Mohammed Siraj and Umran Malik. I will definitely play Umran Malik. I may or may not give him the new ball. I might get Hardik Pandya to bowl four overs and then get Umran Malik in the middle. I want to try Umran Malik because he is not even there in the Asian Games squad. So the Indian team is also trying to get him into the World Cup as an X-factor bowler and I am with them,” Aakash Chopra concluded.
His preferred Indian XI: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Umran Malik