Former Indian national selector Saba Karim has picked his Indian playing XI for the blockbuster India vs Pakistan encounter.
India will start its Asia Cup title defence when they meet Babar Azam and his men at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday (August 28).
The Men in Blues will be keen to take revenge from their nemesis for the 10-wicket defeat in the T20 World Cup last year.
Saba Karim names Virat Kohli, KL Rahul in India’s top order against Pakistan
India under Rohit Sharma looks a far stronger side than one that was fielded in Dubai on October 24, 2021.
Karim named an experienced top-order comprising Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul with Suryakumar Yadav likely to bat at No.4.
“My top order is captain Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli. I am backing experience to do well against a big team like Pakistan and also in an important tournament like the Asia Cup.
“Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, if they undergo two-three good practice sessions, I am sure they will get back to form at the right time for India,” Karim said on Sports18.
“Suryakumar Yadav is such a multi-dimensional player, I can keep him as a floater. I can push him up the order if my two openers bat till say the seventh or the eighth over.
“In case it is required, I can also push him down the order because he is such a player who can give me value at whatever number he bats,” he added.
Saba Karim opted for Rishabh Pant ahead of Dinesh Karthik
Karim opted for Rishabh Pant as the lone keeper in the team and dropped veteran player Dinesh Karthik. He also included Ravindra Jadeja and Yuzvendra Chahal as the two spinners in the team, while sidelining R Ashwin.
“I am looking at my four, five and six as floaters. I will keep Rishabh Pant very handy. If I feel I need to push a left-hander at the top of the order, I can do that also,” the former Indian keeper mentioned.
“In my XI, I could have picked only one wicketkeeper-batter because I am getting in KL Rahul and Virat Kohli. That leaves me with a choice of picking only one player between Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant. I have gone ahead with Rishabh Pant because he is such an X-factor for India.”
“R Ashwin is in the 15 but I would play him in the XI only if I see that there are three-four left-handers in the opposition team. But as of now my top two spinners in the XI would be Ravindra Jadeja, because he gives me some runs down the order, and wicket-taking option is Yuzi Chahal,” he added.
Senior pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh made it to Karim’s pace department in the team against Pakistan.
Saba Karim’s India XI vs Pakistan in Asia Cup 2022: Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Yuzvendra Chahal, Yuzvendra Chahal.