Spin legend Harbhajan Singh has picked his preferred playing XI for the clash against against Pakistan.
The much anticipated match will be played at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 23.
The Men in Blue will miss the services of injured Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja in the tournament.
Despite this, the selectors have picked a strong team with adequate bench strength.
The Indian team’s morale will be high after beating Australia by 6 runs in the warm-up match at The Gabba, Brisbane.
Harbhajan Singh’s team contains five batters, one all-rounder, two spinners and three pacers.
“I feel the team is straightforward. I feel Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik and Axar Patel will be in the team.”
“Yuzi Chahal will play along with them. After that Arshdeep Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami,” Harbhajan Singh said.
Rishabh Pant, Harshal Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin and Deepak Hooda don’t feature in his team.
Bhajji explains why he prefers Axar Patel over Ashwin.
“I don’t think R Ashwin will get a chance because the batting looks slightly long with Axar Patel’s presence.”
“If Axar Patel doesn’t play, you cannot depend so much on R Ashwin’s batting in T20Is, he is good in the longest format,” Harbhajan explained.
“Harshal Patel might not get a chance. I feel Deepak Hooda and R Ashwin will not get a chance in the first few games. I am seeing this as the starting XI,” Bhajji said.
Harbhajan is also enthused by the Mohammad Shami’s return to form.
“Shami getting fit is a good sign for the Indian team.”
“The style of bowler he is, experience matters a lot on the big stage. Shami’s role becomes even bigger with Bumrah not being there. We hope that he lives up to those expectations,” he said.