Former Indian fast bowler, Irfan Pathan had no hesitation in picking India’s playing XI for the first game of the T20 World Cup 2022 after the 15-member squad was announced. There weren’t many surprises from the selectors as the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel have made a comeback to the Indian squad to replace Ravi Bishnoi and Deepak Chahar, who played in the recent Asia Cup 2022.
The selectors have also managed to find a place for Rishabh Pant in the 15-member squad despite his poor returns in the T20I format but he could not make it into the playing XI that was predicted by Irfan Pathan. Instead, Pathan wanted Deepak Hooda in the middle order as he can give a few overs of off-spin apart from his batting credentials.
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Irfan Pathan mentioned that he would go for experienced bowlers and a spinner in the playing XI in the first game of the tournament considering the Australian conditions. He further noted that Rohit, Rahul, and Virat will be his top three while Suryakumar, Hooda, and Pandya will follow them. Dinesh Karthik found a place in Pathan’s XI which meant that Rishabh Pant had to be left out.
During a chat on Star Sports, Irfan Pathan said, “See, in my opinion, if you’re playing the first match, you need to have some experienced bowlers including one spinner. So, from the top, my playing 11 would be – Rohit, KL Rahul, number three – Virat (Kohli), number four – Suryakumar Yadav, number five – Deepak Hooda, number six – Hardik Pandya, number seven – Dinesh Karthik.”
He further added, “Number eight will be a right arm leg spinner so it would be (Yuzvendra) Chahal, 9 to 11, where there will be Jasprit Bumrah, Harshal Patel and along with that you can go for Bhuvaneshwar Kumar.”
Coming to the bowlers, Irfan Pathan decides to pick Yuzvendra Chahal as the lone spinner while picking Harshal, Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar as the three seamers.
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Explaining his choices, Irfan Pathan said, “So, there will be a combination here, three fast bowlers out of which two are quality fast bowlers, who will be able to bowl at the death as well. And I will make sure that I have the combination and the liberty to choose from the three fast bowlers, even Arshdeep (Singh) to handle the death bowling. So, in my opinion, in the playing 11, the spinner is clear, it’s just whether I can make space for Arshdeep in the team.”
Irfan Pathan’s Playing XI: Rohit Sharma (C), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar, Deepak Hooda, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal