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Aakash Chopra predicts playing XI’s for India and New Zealand

Chopra has picked Shardul Thakur in the playing XI

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra ( Image Credit: Twitter)

Cricketer-turned-expert Aakash Chopra has picked his playing XI’s for India and New Zealand ahead of the high-octane clash between the teams, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday (October 31). Chopra has one change in India’s playing XI as he has brought all-rounder Shardul Thakur in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The former India opener also wants Suryakumar Yadav to bat up the order at number four.

This is a crucial match for India as the team lost it’s first game against Pakistan by 10-wickets. A win over New Zealand will relatively ease road to semifinals for India. Chopra said India need to look at Varun Chakravarthy, adding that if he is bowling well in the nets, they can stick will him else they can go in with either Rahul Chahar or Ravichandran Ashwin.

“I want Shardul Thakur to play in place of Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar). You’ll have to think a bit about Varun Chakravarthy and how’s he bowling in the nets. If he’s doing well then play him because continuity is important. And if you feel that he isn’t bowling well or there’s some injury issue then it will be a toss-up between Rahul Chahar and Ashwin. The problem is if you play Chahar and Varun and also Shardul then your two out of five bowlers will be inexperienced. So there’s a case for Ashwin but the opposition doesn’t have many left-handers… it’s going to be a bit tricky. I expect Shardul to come in for Bhuvi and probably no other changes which are also alright.”

On the other hand for New Zealand, Chopra backed the team to go in with the same combination that played against Pakistan. He also highlighted the issues in the team and said they have lot of explosive batters at the top but are missing a proper finisher lower down the order.

“You might think that I have picked too many top-order batters but they don’t have any other option… Martin Guptill will open because he always has, you want to open with Daryl Mitchell so be it. [But] Devon Conway is also a top-order batter na? He bats in the top-three. Tim Seifert is a T20 opener and doesn’t have a reputation in down the order. So there aren’t any explosive batters left down the order. Glenn Phillips has a big name but he hasn’t come to the party yet. Dubai might suit him but if you change your pace, you can restrict him too. That is the problem I see in this team.”

Chopra further said that New Zealand will miss the services of Lockie Ferguson. He asked India to be wary of Trent Boult but said the team is well equipped to tackle the Kiwi attack.

“Lockie Ferguson is not available, has been ruled out of the tournament. I feel a crucial component of this team has been taken away… Trent Boult is a danger but Tim Southee is generally very expensive. India will also be well equipped against Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi.”

Aakash Chopra’s Indian XI: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (C), Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (WK), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Varun Chakravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah.

Aakash Chopra’s New Zealand XI: Daryl Mitchell, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (C), Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Tim Seifert (WK), James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi.

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