Picture Credit: X

Picture Credit: X

The Men in Blue will take on Zimbabwe in a five-match T20I series at the Harare Sports Club, starting Saturday, July 6. The Indian team will be led by Shubman Gill, who recently captained the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Gujarat Titans in the 2024 edition of the cash-rich league. While it will be Gill’s first assignment as captain of the side at international level, on Friday, July, 5, the Indian opener spoke about the opening combination.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference on the eve of the first T20I against Zimbabwe, Gill confirmed that it will be Abhishek Sharma who will open alongside him. He also added that Ruturaj Gaikwad, the Chennai Super Kings captain will come out at number three. “Abhishek Sharma will open with me and Ruturaj Gaikwad will bat at No. 3,” Gill told reporters on Friday, July 5. 

With India captain Rohit Sharma and batting stalwart Virat Kohli, along with all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja retiring from the shortest format of the game, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) along with the Indian selectors will be trying to field the best combination seeing the next edition of the World Cup set to be played in 2026. “Rohit bhai and Virat bhai had opened in the World Cup, and I also open (the inning) in the T20s. So, I think I would like to open in the T20s,” Gill said at the pre-match press conference.

“I think there is always pressure and expectations. But what I think Virat bhai and Rohit bhai have achieved, if I go to reach that thing, then it will be very difficult for me. Every player has his own goal, like where he wants to reach. So there is a lot of pressure. If you want to reach where other people have reached, then you have more pressure. But what they have achieved or what they have done for India, there is no pressure in that thing, because they are both idols and legends of Indian cricket,” added Gill.

It is to be noted that Abhishek Sharma had a phenomenal IPL 2024 with the SunRisers Hyderabad, who finished as the runners-up this year. Sharma scored 484 runs from 16 matches at the strike rate of 203. He even smashed 42 sixes at an average of 32.27. He finished as the second highest run-getter for SRH after Travis Head and stood tenth in the overall list. Whereas Ruturaj Gaikwad, finished as the second highest run-scorer after Virat Kohli in the IPL 2024 with 583 runs from 14 innings at a strike rate of 141. 

India squad for first two T20Is against Zimbabwe

Shubman Gill (captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Abhishek Sharma, Rinku Singh, Dhruv Jurel (wk), Riyan Parag, Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan, Khaleel Ahmed, Mukesh Kumar, Tushar Deshpande, Sai Sudharsan, Jitesh Sharma (wk), Harshit Rana.