India National Cricket Team (Credits: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra has picked his Team India XI for the first T20I against Ireland. Sanju Samson and Umran Malik failed to find a place in his team.

The first T20I of the two-match series will be played on Sunday, June 26. The Men in Blue stuck to the same XI in all games of the recently concluded T20I series against South Africa. They will, however, have to make at least a couple of changes for the Ireland T20Is, with Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer now in England with the Indian Test side.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra Picks Deepak Hooda And Venkatesh Iyer In His XI For 1st T20I

Ishan Kishan finished the series against Proteas as the highest run-getter. Ishan Kishan scored 206 runs across five games at an average of 41.20 and a strike rate of 150.36. He scored two half-centuries in the series and the confidence in his batting was upfront. He should open with Ruturaj Gaikwad feels Aakash Chopra.

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra named Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan as his two openers, elaborating: “Ruturaj Gaikwad did not do well in the series against South Africa. These are his last two chances if he is given these two chances. This is his final opportunity; I doubt he will get chances against England. Ishan Kishan has another chance to establish himself a little more.”

The cricketer-turned-commentator wants Suryakumar Yadav to bat at No. 3 ahead of Sanju Samson and Deepak Hooda. Deepak Hooda, who has been one of the prominent faces of the Indian T20I set-up, must get a chance in the Ireland series, feels the former Indian opener.

Aakash Chopra reasoned: “The big question will be if you will play Deepak Hooda, Sanju Samson or Suryakumar Yadav at three. I will play Surya at three for a simple reason that he is part of our World Cup team. You will say that he will play at No. 4 at the World Cup because Kohli will play at No. 3; my argument is you want him to be amongst the runs.”

Venkatesh Iyer (Getty)
Venkatesh Iyer (Getty)

Aakash Chopra completed his top six by picking Deepak Hooda, Hardik Pandya, and Dinesh Karthik, explaining: “I am thinking Deepak Hooda at No. 4. I feel the team should play Deepak Hooda because there is a pecking order. It is not correct if Sanju Samson or Rahul Tripathi plays ahead of him. Then Hardik and at six, I am going with Dinesh Karthik.”

The 44-year-old wants pace all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer to play instead of spin all-rounder Axar Patel.

Aakash Chopra observed: “At No. 7, it is slightly interesting if you will play Axar Patel. The Ireland team plays fast bowling easily, so play more spin, but the truth is also that these conditions are not going to help spin that much. I feel Hardik Pandya will bowl more here, then why not Venkatesh Iyer.”

Axar Patel did not have a great T20I series against South Africa. Team India could opt to play Venkatesh Iyer ahead of him, with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder performing the fifth bowler’s role along with Hardik Pandya and Deepak Hooda.

Aakash Chopra Opts To Stick With The Same Bowlers That Played In The T20Is Against Proteas

Making his prediction about the Indian bowlers, Aakash Chopra said the dup of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who is also the vice-captain of the team, and Yuzvendra Chahal will be among the wickets.

Aakash Chopra opted to stick with the same specialist bowlers who played in the T20Is against South Africa, saying: “Yuzi Chahal is my only leg-spinner. Deepak Hooda will give me some off-spin. After that, when I look at the bowlers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and then I will go with Harshal Patel. I am thinking about Avesh Khan now, but I won’t mind if Arshdeep plays.”

Yuzvendra Chahal Image Source: Twitter
Yuzvendra Chahal Image Source: Twitter

While the first T20I saw Bhuvneshwar Kumar leaking runs at almost 11 per over (43/1 in four overs), the rest of the three games saw him conceding at a rate of even less than six runs over. Overall, Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked six wickets at an economy rate of 6.07 and was awarded Man of the Series. Yuzvendra Chahal snared six wickets in the two T20Is he played against Ireland in 2018.

Aakash Chopra’s India XI for 1st T20I: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan.