Anjum Chopra has picked India’s XII for the first ODI against New Zealand. The former Indian skipper wants Deepak Hooda to play ahead of a specialist batter in the top six.
The first ODI of the three-match series will be played in Auckland on Friday, November 25. Shikhar Dhawan will captain the Men in Blue in regular skipper Rohit Sharma’s absence, with Rishabh Pant as his deputy.
In a video shared on her YouTube channel, Chopra picked India’s first XII for the opening ODI of the series, saying:
“Which players will the Indian team want to go with in the first ODI? Let me start from the top – Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav, Shahbaz Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Arshdeep Singh, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal and Deepak Hooda.”
Chopra feels India will not have the requisite balance if Hooda is not part of the XI. She explained:
“This is my chosen squad of 12 players. If you don’t play Deepak Hooda and go with the first eleven players, if you talk about the batters, all are very good but the batting order goes till No. 6. After that, you have five bowlers.”
The former Indian batter shared her reason for including Shahbaz Ahmed in the side, stating:
“I have included Shahbaz Ahmed because he is an all-rounder and can do spin bowling along with Yuzvendra Chahal and you have three seamers – Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar and Arshdeep Singh.”
Chopra added that Dhawan will not have a fallback option if he plays only five bowlers and any of them has a bad day. She observed:
“Will the Indian team want to go with five bowlers and six specialist batters? You can understand six specialist batters because we have to score runs, but only five bowlers, which means you will have to get Shahbaz Ahmed to bowl full 10 overs and none of the bowlers can have a bad day.”
Chopra has picked Shahbaz as part of her XII but the spin-bowling all-rounder has reportedly not traveled to New Zealand for the ODI series. The Indian team might have to field Washington Sundar as a spin-bowling all-rounder in such a scenario.
“I find it slightly risky” – Anjum Chopra on India going in with just five bowlers
Chopra feels it would be risky for India to play with just five bowling options. She elaborated:
“I find it slightly risky, slightly difficult. It is possible but against this home team’s batting side, I feel there should be at least six bowlers. If you put a sixth bowler in this team, it can be either Washington Sundar or Deepak Hooda, but if you include such a player, one batter has to go out.”
However, the cricketer-turned-commentator is unsure which batter can be dropped to accommodate a batting all-rounder. She stated:
“So who will that be? Can you replace any of Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant or Sanju Samson, but you will have to do that. It is not that any of these batters have done anything wrong but the team’s balance looks pale.”
Anjum Chopra’s India XII: Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Shahbaz Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Deepak Hooda
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