In the absence of India’s top batsmen, the 5-match T20 series will serve as a proving ground for head coach Rahul Dravid. While KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant are available, Ravi Shastri, the former head coach, has given his thoughts on the playing XI for the first T20. The fact that he has left out Dinesh Karthik and Kuldeep Yadav is a big surprise.
Ravi Shastri was a vocal supporter of Dinesh Karthik’s comeback to the Indian team. However, because both Rahul Dravid and the team management are focused on developing young talent, it may be difficult to fit Dinesh Karthik into the lineup.
Ravi Shastri picks India’s best XI for the first T20I
Former Team India head coach Ravi Shastri has named his best playing XI for India’s first T20I against South Africa, which will take place at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday, June 9. Ruturaj Gaikwad and KL Rahul were the veteran’s first two batsmen.
Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, and Rishabh Pant were chosen as the middle-order batters by Shastri, whose tenure with the Men in Blue ended after India’s early exit from the T20 World Cup 2021.
Hardik Pandya, who made a comeback to the Indian team after a stellar performance for the Gujarat Titans (GT) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022, was also on his list.
“I think they will go with the guys they will want to see first – the Rahuls, the Ruturaj Gaikwads – maybe they will open. They will probably give Ishan (Kishan) a break in this game or bat him at three,” Ravi Shastri said.
“If you bat him (Ishan) at three, then it will be Shreyas (Iyer) at No. 4, (Rishabh) Pant at No. 5, and Hardik (Pandya) at No. 6,” he said.
Shastri’s safe bets in the bowling department were Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Yuzvendra Chahal. However, he was undecided about selecting Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik, who both performed admirably in the IPL 2022.
“No. 7 will be Axar Patel. I think eight will be Bhuvneshwar Kumar batting-wise, then Chahal, Arshdeep Singh/Umran Malik, and Harshal Patel. Umran or Arshdeep depending on the ground and what the pitch is like. I think if Bhuvi plays, then Umran is better because Bhuvi can do a job for you at the death. But then again, you are looking for someone at the death, they are looking to develop that bowler. So if Harshal is going to do that, he plays that game,” Shastri added.
In addition, Shastri did not select Venkatesh Iyer or Dinesh Karthik in his playing eleven.
Ravi Shastri’s XI:
KL Rahul, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh/Umran Malik, Harshal Patel.