Former India head coach Ravi Shastri has predicted the KL Rahul-led side won’t bring both Umran Malik and Arshdeep Singh straight away in their first T20I of the five-match series on June 9, at Arun Jaitley Stadium. Shastri has also picked his preferred Team India line-up for the series opener.
Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik had a fantastic IPL 2022 for Punjab Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. Thus, they have earned their maiden international call-ups for India’s upcoming five-match series against South Africa, starting from June 9 at Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi. With the likes of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli taking a rest, the side will be led by KL Rahul.
Ahead of the series, India’s former head coach Ravi Shastri came up with his thoughts on how Rahul and co. should build a playing XI for the series opener. Shastri believes India should prioritise the ones who have been there for a long time, and then they should look for the newcomers, such as Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik, and the returnees, such as Dinesh Karthik.
“I think they will go with the guys they will want to see first - the Rahuls, the Ruturaj Gaikwads - maybe they will open. They will probably give Ishan (Kishan) a break in this game or bat him at three," Shastri said on Star Sports show 'Game Plan'.
"If you bat him (Ishan) at three, then it will be Shreyas (Iyer) at No. 4, (Rishabh) Pant at No. 5 and Hardik (Pandya) at No. 6. "No. 7 will be Axar Patel. I think eight will be Bhuvneshwar Kumar batting-wise, then Chahal, Arshdeep Singh/Umran Malik and Harshal Patel. Umran or Arshdeep depending on the ground and what the pitch is like.
"I think if Bhuvi plays, then Umran is better because Bhuvi can do a job for you at the death. But then again, you are looking for someone at the death, they are looking to develop that bowler. So if Harshal is going to do that, he plays that game.”
Along with Karthik, Shastri refrained from picking Venkatesh Iyer as well for the series opener.
Ravi Shastri's XI: KL Rahul (c), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh/Umran Malik, Harshal Patel.