Team India are all set to begin their T20 World Cup 2021 campaign and the occasion cannot get any bigger as they lock horns with arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening encounter on October 24, Sunday. Both the sides are coming to the tournament as two of the strongest teams, especially in UAE conditions. The Men in Blue have a 5-0 head-to-head advantage over their opponents in this competition and Virat Kohli’s side would hope to continue their dominance.
With a star-studded squad at their disposal, here is India’s best XI for the match against Pakistan considering the conditions in Dubai and form/fitness of players:
1. Rohit Sharma
India’s vice-captain is one of the most explosive openers in the world right now and he has the tendency to raise his game to a different level altogether in ICC events. Rohit Sharma was sensational at the top during 2019 ODI World Cup in England and having found his form in the recent warm-up game vs Australia, the right-handed batter has made his intentions clear before the start of Super 12. Hitman gets into the side without a question and will be a key role in getting India off to a solid start.
2. KL Rahul
Few months back, there were so many doubts regarding Rohit’s partner in the mega event. However, the stylish right-handed batter has incredibly found his mojo back in recent times as he comes to the world cup on the back of a very successful IPL 2021 stint in similar conditions. He looked in remarkable touch in both the warm-up games and with someone like Hitman at the other end, he can play some fearless cricket which could prove to be fatal for opposition.
3. Virat Kohli (C)
Team India captain might not have been in the best of form coming into the tournament but he is someone who steps up on big occasions. Virat Kohli has been influential in India’s wins during last few meetings between the two sides in T20 World Cup and he will certainly want to continue the trend this year as well. He has already confirmed that he is set to bat at No. 3 for Men in Blue in the tournament.
4. Suryakumar Yadav
If there is one player who could prove to be an X-factor for Team India in this World Cup, it is Suryakumar Yadav. The right-handed batter is one of the best players of spin in world right now and has all the shots in the book to thrive in the challenging UAE conditions. India have struggled in past with their run-rate in middle-overs and SKY is someone who can help his side overcome that problem for his side.
5. Rishabh Pant (wk)
India’s batting line-up is full of match-winners and Rishabh Pant is probably one of the biggest among all. The explosive wicketkeeper batter might be a slightly unorthodox cricketer but quite an effective one. His audacious shots during the match can upset the rhythm of any bowler, making him one of the most dangerous players in Indian side. He is coming to the tournament with some runs behind his back in IPL 2021 and he will be raring to make an impact for the national side now.
6. Hardik Pandya
The all-rounder has been one of the most-talked about players ahead of the tournament because of his fitness issues. Hardik Pandya hasn’t bowled much in recent times however he is someone who can win games for India with bat as well. He is one of the hardest hitters of the cricket ball across the globe and is expected to play the role of finisher for his side in UAE. Notably, he can also chip in with few overs, when required.
7. Ravindra Jadeja
When it comes to providing balance for Team India, Ravindra Jadeja is someone who is equally important for the side, with both bat and ball. While his left-arm orthodox bowling will be crucial for his side in spin-friendly conditions in UAE, his ability to play some fiery cameos lower down the order could prove to be very crucial. There is indeed no doubt that Ravindra Jadeja is a sure-shot selection in India’s playing XI.
8. Shardul Thakur
India will face a selection dilemma in the bowling department, starting from Shardul Thakur vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Although Bhuvi has the experience on his side, the team might go with Shardul considering his ability with the bat as well. The 30-year-old has also proven his worth as a bowler in the shortest format and has developed an uncanny habit of taking crucial wickets for his side, which gives him an edge to play on Sunday.
9. Ravichandran Ashwin
Another debate for India will be regarding the choice of spinner, with Ravichandran Ashwin, Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy in the mix. If the form in warm-up games are to go by, it looks like the team might opt to go with the experienced off-spinner for the big game vs Pakistan. With some left-handed players like Fakhar Zaman and Imad Wasim in the opposition, India might want to go with the off-spinner.
10. Mohammed Shami
From being termed as a Test specialist to becoming one of the most lethal T20 bowlers, Mohammed Shami has certainly revamped himself in the shortest format of the game. With his ability to bowl yorkers at pace, he has gone ahead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the pecking order and is likely to be one of India’s main weapons in the mega event. Shami can also prove to be destructive with his swing-bowling if there is any assistance for pacers with the new ball.
11. Jasprit Bumrah
If there is someone who can prove to be a nightmare for any batting side, it is Jasprit Bumrah without any doubt. From toe-crushing yorkers to unplayable slower ones, the right-arm pacer has a variety of variations in his bowling armoury which makes him very difficult to score against. He is one of the players who walks into the Indian playing XI without any question and he will certainly be someone that Pakistan would need to be wary of in Dubai.