Shubman Gill confirms India's openers, No.3 for 1st T20I vs Zimbabwe in post-Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli era | Crickit
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Shubman Gill confirms India's openers, No.3 for 1st T20I vs Zimbabwe in post-Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli era

Jul 06, 2024 02:03 PM IST

Shubman Gill confirmed India's openers for the first T20I against Zimbabwe as the T20 World champions prepare for life after Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

Captain Shubman Gill and Abhishek Sharma will open for India in the first T20I against Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club on Saturday as the World Champions begin their journey in the post-Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli era. Rohit and Kohli were India's openers throughout the T20 World Cup in the USA and the West Indies. After unbeaten India won the T20 World Cup after 17 years, captain Rohit, stalwart Kohli and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja announced their retirement from T20Is.

Shubman Gill (R) will lead India in the Zimbabwe series(PTI)
Shubman Gill (R) will lead India in the Zimbabwe series(PTI)

Exactly a week after beating South Africa in the final by seven runs in Barbados, a new-look Indian side under first-time skipper Shubman Gill will take the field against a revamped Zimbabwe. In his first address as the Indian captain, Gill confirmed Abhishek Sharma as his opening partner.

"Abhishek Sharma will open with me and Ruturaj Gaikwad will bat at No.3," Gill, who was a part of the travelling reserves in India's T20 World Cup squad, told reporters on Friday.

Abhishek Sharma, who had a fantastic IPL, scoring 484 runs in 16 matches at a staggering strike rate 204.22, will make his T20I debut. The left-handed batter is known for his big hitting in the powerplay. His left-arm spin will also come in handy in slow and low conditions in Harare.

Rajasthan Royals cricketers Riyan Parag and Dhruv Jurel are also in line to make their debuts. Parag smashed 573 runs in 15 matches in this IPL at a strike rate of 149. Jurel, on the other hand, is set to take the gloves for the first two T20Is in the absence of Sanju Samson.

Most of India's World Cup-winning cricketers were given a break from this five-match T20 series against Zimbabwe. Only five members - Rinku Singh, Shivam Dube, Yashavi Jaiswal, Khaleel Ahmed, and Samson - were named in the squad for the Zimbabwe series.

Dube, Jaiswal, and Samson, who were part of India's main 15-member World Cup squad, will not play in the first two T20Is against Zimbabwe as their victory celebrations in Delhi and Mumbai culminated late on Thursday. They have been replaced by Jitesh Sharma, Sai Sudharshan, and Harshit Rana.

Meanwhile, T20 World Cup travelling reserves Rinku and Khaleel are likely to be available for selection from the series opener.

Gill banks on IPL captaincy experience in India vs Zimbabwe T20Is

The series will also mark Gill's captaincy debut. He said his experience of leading Gujarat Titans in IPL 2024, will come in handy. "A lot of lessons. When I captain for the first time for my IPL team, I got to know a lot more things about myself and a lot more things about the leadership perspective. And I felt most of the challenges that you face as a captain are more mental," he said.

Gill said the young players would like to make the most of the international exposure they are likely to get from this tour.

"It's quite a different team from the one that played in the World Cup. There are a lot of young players in the team, including myself. So I think in terms of that, we just want to give the players experience and how the international, what it is like to play at the international level because a lot of the players haven't played that many matches and some of the players haven't even made their debut. So I think that is our aim for the series, to give them more international exposure and experience."

[Watch Ind vs Zim T20 match LIVE on OTTPlay . Click Here to Subscribe]

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