No KL Rahul in India legend's playing XI for Pakistan Asia Cup tie; picks surprise opening partner for Rohit Sharma

By, New Delhi
Aug 27, 2022 06:18 PM IST

Rahul had to bear an unceremonious time on the sidelines following his tragic injury after IPL 2022. He made a comeback to cricket in the recently-concluded ODI series in Zimbabwe.

As India reignite their cricket rivalry with Pakistan with the much-awaited Sunday (August 28) blockbuster in the T20 Asia Cup, the spotlight will be on India's top 3 comprising the likes of skipper Rohit Sharma and his predecessor Virat Kohli. While Rohit looks to lead his team's aggressive approach in the 20-over format, Kohli returns to world cricket after a seven-week break. It’s been over 1,000 days since Kohli last scored an international ton, which has also led to questions being raised over his future in the shortest version.

Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul(AP)
Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul(AP)

It could be a make-or-break situation for Kohli, who looks to get into the groove before India head to Australia for the 2022 World T20 in October. Apart from Rohit and Kohli, the focus also remains on KL Rahul. The Indian is expected to play the high-profile game against Pakistan after missing a lot of cricket due to a surgery and Covid-19 related lay-off.

Also Read | 'I kind of surprised myself': Virat Kohli recalls epic 183-run knock in India vs Pakistan Asia Cup 2012 match

Rahul had to bear an unceremonious time on the sidelines following his tragic injury after IPL 2022. He made a comeback to cricket in the recently concluded ODI series in Zimbabwe. His return to the team will provide a major boost to the side but former India women's captain Anjum Chopra didn't pick him in her preferred XI versus Pakistan.

Chopra chose Rishabh Pant, who opened alongside Rohit Sharma recently in England T20Is. According to her, India should go with six specialist bowlers.

"I feel India should go in with six specialist bowlers. That way, the bowling line-up can be covered well, with seam, off-spin and leg-spin. It also extends the batting line-up," Chopra said on her YouTube channel.

The India great also weighed in on injuries to Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel, saying the team management has got plenty of options at its disposal. The fast bowling pair was not available for selection in Asia Cup owing to injuries. Both players are currently undergoing rehab at the NCA in Bengaluru.

“India have so many options. The selectors can pick from a bench strength of 25 players, probably even more. Anybody can play from them. It doesn’t matter if players like Bumrah and Harshal are unavailable. India are looking very strong in batting and bowling. They are a very good all-round team," said Chopra.

Chopra feels Pakistan will miss the services of injured Shaheen Afridi but can't be taken lightly, with skipper Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan being the stanchions.

“There are some injury concerns for Pakistan. Shaheen Afridi is not available. Still, Babar Azam-led Pakistan, with the likes of Muhammad Rizwan, are a strong side. Babar is leading the ICC ODI and T20I rankings. As a team, Pakistan are doing very well and cannot be taken lightly."

Anjum Chopra’s probable XI: Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Hooda/ Dinesh Karthik, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

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