Former India head coach Ravi Shastri has picked India’s best playing XI for the first T20 game against South Africa. The first game of the five-T20I series will be played at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi on the 9th of June. The former coach has made some surprising exclusions as the veteran wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik has failed to make it to Ravi Shastri’s playing XI. Meanwhile, the batting all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer has also failed to make it to the cut.
While the usual suspect and the skipper KL Rahul is leading the team at the top, the all-rounder Hardik Pandya has returned to the playing XI after impressing everyone with a title-winning campaign with Gujarat Titans in the recently-concluded IPL.
“I think they will go with the guys they will want to see first,” says Ravi Shastri
While explaining his selections, the cricketer-turned-commentator said that the team management is likely to pick the players who they want to check first.
“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,” said Ravi Shastri on the Star Sports show – Game Plan.
“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 further added.
In the bowling department, the former all-rounder picked Bhuvneshwar Kumar as his new ball-bowler and Harshal Patel as the death specialist, while Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal are the spinners in the playing XI. Meanwhile, he completed the team by picking either of the pacers between Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik.
For the unversed, the selectors have rested key players, including the skipper Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Jasprit Bumrah to manage their workload. They also wanted to try the youngsters with a keen eye on the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Ravi Shastri’s playing XI: KL Rahul (C), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Arshdeep Singh/Umran Malik.