Former India opening batter Aakash Chopra has picked his playing XIs for India and New Zealand. This is a crucial game for both sides as the teams lost their respective opening matches to Pakistan. India suffered a 10-wicket thrashing, while New Zealand were handed a five-wicket loss. A win for either of the sides will boost their chances of qualification for the semifinals.
After this crucial encounter, both will play relatively weaker teams like Scotland, Namibia, and Afghanistan and are likely to end up winning which is why many are seeing this game as a virtual knockout. Skipper Virat Kohli hinted at the possibility of bringing Shardul Thakur in the team for the game. Chopra also echoed the sentiments of Kohli and included Thakur in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The rest of the team remains the same. Chopra, however, said the team needs to keep a keen eye on Varun Chakravarthy, adding that if he is bowling well in the nets, India can have him in the XI else they need to think about bringing in Ravi Ashwin or Rahul Chahar.
“I want Shardul Thakur to play in place of Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar). You’ll have to think a bit about Varun Chakravarthy and how’s he bowling in the nets. If he’s doing well then play him because continuity is important. And if you feel that he isn’t bowling well or there’s some injury issue then it will be a toss-up between Rahul Chahar and Ashwin. The problem is if you play Chahar and Varun and also Shardul then your two out of five bowlers will be inexperienced. So there’s a case for Ashwin but the opposition doesn’t have many left-handers… it’s going to be a bit tricky. I expect Shardul to come in for Bhuvi and probably no other changes which are also alright,” Chopra said on the youtube channel.
For the New Zealand side, the cricketer-turned-expert has picked the same team that played against Pakistan. However, he pointed out that the team lacks depth in the batting and are missing a power hitter down the order. He also said the team will miss Lockie Ferguson.
“You might think that I have picked too many top-order batters but they don’t have any other option… Martin Guptill will open because he always has, you want to open with Daryl Mitchell so be it. [But] Devon Conway is also a top-order batter na? He bats in the top-three. Tim Seifert is a T20 opener and doesn’t have a reputation in down the order. So there aren’t any explosive batters left down the order. Glenn Phillips has a big name but he hasn’t come to the party yet. Dubai might suit him but if you change your pace, you can restrict him too. That is the problem I see in this team.”
Aakash Chopra’s Indian XI: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (C), Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (WK), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah.
Aakash Chopra’s New Zealand XI: Daryl Mitchell, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (C), Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Tim Seifert (WK), James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi.