Former India player Sanjay Manjrekar has picked his preferred India XI for the T20 World Cup to be taking place in Australia later this year. The selectors recently chose a 15-member Indian squad for the mega T20 tournament. They will start their campaign in the tournament with a match against arch-rivals Pakistan in Melbourne on October 23.
During an interaction on the Sports 18 show ‘Sports Over the Top’, Manjrekar said: “The most likely XI that I see on the field, the one that I would go for starts with Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli at No. 3 and Suryakumar Yadav at No. 4. I know you guys are looking at four right-handers one after the other but it’s fine. Now I have got Hardik Pandya coming in at No. 5, then I have got Rishabh Pant and Axar Patel, hoping that he becomes a batting all-rounder, just like Jadeja, during the course of the tournament.”
However, Sanjay Manjrekar also added that he would back the team management even if they play with Dinesh Karthik ahead of Rishabh Pant.
He explained: “I just want to take a chance with Rishabh Pant to begin with but if they pick DK (Karthik) for the first game, I fully support it, because I have said it many times that down the order at No. 6 or No. 7, DK currently has more of an impact than Rishabh Pant, but this is out of hope that something magical happens to Rishabh Pant.”
Meanwhile, Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik will likely compete for the wicketkeeper’s position in India’s XI. The team management might take the final call based on their performances after seeing the upcoming series against Australia and South Africa. However, Manjrekar picked Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal as his four specialist bowlers for the mega event as well.
“In the bowling attack, I have got Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel – I think he will come in before Bhuvi, and then of course Bumrah and Chahal. So that’s my playing XI. As you can see, the playing XI is more about having seasoned guys. I just feel that Harshal was always going to be the player that they would pick. Just offers something completely different, lots of slower deliveries, a bit like Obed McCoy. So I have got him, with Arshdeep very quickly to get in and hopefully Mohammad Shami from the reserves,” Sanjay Manjrekar concluded.
Sanjay Manjrekar’s preferred India XI: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal