Former cricketer Harbhajan Singh has picked India’s playing XI for the high-octane clash against Pakistan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday, October 23. He made some surprising calls, leaving out off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant.
The Men in Blue will look to take revenge for the last year’s defeat in the UAE. However, they will miss the services of Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja, who have been ruled out due to injuries.
Despite that, India have a strong squad at their disposal and are on of the favourites to lift the elusive title. Harbhajan Singh, meanwhile, picked his XI as his team consisted of five batters, one all-rounder, two spinners and three pacers.
“I feel the team is straightforward. I feel Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik and Axar Patel will be in the team. Yuzi Chahal will play along with them. After that Arshdeep Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami,” Harbhajan Singh told Star Sports.
The cricketer-turned-commentator reckoned that Harshal Pate, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Rishabh Pant will find it difficult to break into the playing XI in the first few games.
“This is my choice. Harshal Patel might not get a chance. I feel Deepak Hooda and R Ashwin will not get a chance in the first few games. I am seeing this as the starting XI,” he added.
“Shami’s role becomes even bigger with Bumrah not being there” – Harbhajan Singh
— Mohammad Shami (@MdShami11) October 17, 2022
Mohammed Shami made a heroic return to India’s T20I side in the warm-up game against Australia, defending 11 runs and picking up three wickets. Harbhajan Singh reckoned that the veteran pacer will have a bigger role to play in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah.
“Shami getting fit is a good sign for the Indian team. The style of bowler he is, experience matters a lot on the big stage. Shami’s role becomes even bigger with Bumrah not being there. We hope that he lives up to those expectations,” he concluded.
However, it remains to be seen how India shape up for their T20 World Cup opener on Sunday.