Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra has picked his squad for the upcoming Test series against South Africa, scheduled to start later this month. Chopra made shocking selections leaving out underfire batsman Ajinkya Rahane and young opener Shubman Gill.
With COVID-19 restrictions in place, India are likely to pick a big contingent for the Proteas tour. However, Chopra named only 15 players who are likely to be on the plane for South Africa. Speaking on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra went with Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul as his first-choice openers.
“I have picked Rohit as my opener, without doubt. I have picked Rahul as my opener, without doubt. Rohit and Rahul was a straightforward decision, they are doing well. They forged a new partnership in England and did very well,” he said.
Meanwhile, Aakash Chopra stuck with incumbent No.3 Chetehswar Pujara, who is also going through a lean patch. However, the Saurashtra batsman showed grit and determination for his 47 runs in the final innings against New Zealand, which gave hints about his return to form.
“I have kept Pujara in my team and I have picked my XI as well. I will play him at No. 3 in this team. There is a lot of pressure on him and this tour is very important for him but as of now, Pujara is there,” Aakash Chopra added.
The cricketer-turned commentator picked skipper Virat Kohli at No.4 while naming Shreyas Iyer at No.5, usually dominated by Ajinkya Rahane. Iyer, who made his debut against New Zealand, finished as the second-highest run-scorer with 202 runs from four innings, including a century and a fifty.
Aakash Chopra elaborated:
“At No. 5, I have picked Shreyas Iyer. Who can make him sit out after what he did on his debut? If he is at five, that means Ajinkya Rahane is not in my XI. We want to maintain the continuity and want to go with a player who has scored runs.”
Aakash Chopra believes Rishabh Pant, who was rested for the series against the Black Caps will return to take his spot back from Wriddhiman Saha, despite his stellar returns in the series.
Aakash Chopra’s Indian Test squad for South Africa tour: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav