Virat Kohli’s Team India are all set to face arch-rival Pakistan in their first match of the T20 World Cup 2021. All eyes will be on India’s final playing XI which takes the field in Dubai on Sunday (October 24) and former India batter Mohammad Kaif believes Mumbai’s Shardul Thakur adds much needed balance to the side.
Indian national selectors added Shardul to the final 15 at the expense of Axar Patel and the all-rounder capped off his selection by winning IPL 2021 with Chennai Super Kings last week.
“India have a very powerful team with all the bases covered. Shardul Thakur has been included in the team as an all-rounder in place of Axar Patel, which has solidified the team,” Kaif said in an exclusive Facebook Live session with Zee News English.
Watch Mohammad Kaif’s full interaction here…
Shardul’s addition to the side becomes even more important to the side considering the fact that Hardik Pandya is unlikely to bowl over the course of the tournament. The all-rounder was the leading wicket-taker for MS Dhoni’s side, claiming 21 wickets in 16 matches.
“Hardik is not bowling for a long time, he hasn’t been able to recover from his injury. Virat Kohli knows this and he will be playing primarily as a batsman,” Kaif, the Delhi Capitals assistant coach, added.
The former Uttar Pradesh batter feels the bowling attack against Pakistan will feature Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah along with Shardul. “Thakur provides good balance to the side and he is coming high on confidence after winning the IPL 2021 title with Chennai Super Kings. Bhuvneshwar, Bumrah and Shardul should be the bowlers. They should go in with two spinners – (Ravichandran) Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja as the two spinners.
“Both Ashwin and Jadeja have had plenty of experience of bowling in UAE conditions. The displayed good form in IPL 2021 and should be automatic selection for the side,” Kaif felt.
Team India have not lost a single match to Pakistan in the T20 World Cup and Virat Kohli will hope to continue that winning run.