Having managed to almost scraping through in the opening encounter against minnows Hong Kong, Rohit Sharma, and his boys will now look to rise to the occasion in what is touted as the clash of the tournament — India vs Pakistan. Hindustan Times takes a look at India’s predicted XI for the match against arch-rivals Pakistan.
After getting off to a bright start, Rohit Sharma threw away his wicket looking to go after the off-spinner. However, he did look comfortable on a placid pitch and this bodes for India against Pakistan’s bowling attack which will be a greater challenge.
After the wretched Test series against England, Shikhar Dhawan could finally dominate proceedings on a flat, sluggish pitch and against the white ball which more often than not, follows a straight line. An in-form Dhawan is such a huge bonus for India, more so against the more varied Pakistan attack.
The right-hander struck form in the final innings at the Oval but was rested for the first match against Hong Kong. He should be named in the playing XI against Pakistan and should walk out to bat at the all-important number three position.
He missed the flight to England after he failed the yo-yo Test, but Rayudu is now back and should get a longer rope leading into the World Cup. He looked good against Hong Kong and should be persisted with against Pakistan.
Coach Ravi Shastri speaks highly of Kedar Jadhav and his abilities with the bat lower down the order and then his rather uncanny bowling action. He chips in with handy overs with his low and slingy right arm and should get a game against Pakistan.
He took charge of the training session in the absence of Ravi Shastri and in many ways, this shows the importance of Dhoni to this team. In the absence of Virat Kohli, Dhoni the player is needed, but Dhoni, the tactician will be a big help for Rohit Sharma, more so in a high-profile encounter against Pakistan.
After a long and arduous tour of England, Hardik Pandya was rested for the match against Hong Kong but should take the field against Pakistan and resume his services as the all-rounder in the side. His bowling has come a long way, and as a batsman, he needs to use the long handle and be the finisher along with MS Dhoni.
The seam bowler is now a seasoned campaigner and after the injury, he suffered in England, he should run in with the white new ball against Pakistan. His record against left-handers is really good and hence, he should be a real threat against Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq.
The mystery follows and Kuldeep has been one of India’s match-winners over the past 12 months, but his biggest test will be against Pakistan as the batsmen play spin much better. Kuldeep did not have an entirely memorable Test against England and would be desperate to prove a point.
The other wrist-spinner in the squad, Yuzvendra Chahal is a brilliant foil for Kuldeep. He is a genuine leg-spinner who believes more in subtle changes of pace and length and has been a vital cog for India in the middle overs.
After impressing with the red ball in England, Jasprit Bumrah was rested for the match against Hong Kong. However, he will partner Bhuvneshwar with the white new ball and his form is a huge plus for India leading into the match. Remember his no-ball against Fakhar Zaman in the Champions Trophy final? Some score needs to be settled here.
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