Aakash Chopra feels Hardik Pandya will be India's T20I skipper even when all senior players like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are available for selection.
Pandya will lead a 16-member Indian squad in the upcoming T20I series against Sri Lanka. While Rohit is yet to recover from his thumb injury, Kohli is reportedly rested for the three T20Is ahead of the ODI series against the same opponents.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra reflected on India's chosen T20I squad. Regarding Hardik's appointment as skipper, he said:
"The big news is that Hardik Pandya has become the T20 captain. I feel Hardik Pandya will be the captain even if Rohit, Kohli or anyone is available. Rohit was unavailable and no one is telling about Kohli, because the selection committee hasn't said anything about who they have rested and who they have dropped."
Chopra is unsure whether Rishabh Pant will be picked for the subsequent limited-overs series against New Zealand as he is probably missing the Sri Lanka series due to workload management, elaborating:
"We have been trying to read news based on sources until now. It has been heard that because there is a four-Test series against Australia, Pant has been sent to the NCA for workload management. But before that, there will be six matches against New Zealand, we really don't know if his name will come in that or not."
Pant has reportedly been sent to the National Cricket Academy for strength and conditioning. The dashing wicketkeeper-batter has not set the stage alight in white-ball cricket and will hope to be back in the mix soon to put forth his case for a spot in India's squad for the ODI World Cup next year.
"It seems they are probably going away from Bhuvi" - Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra reckons Bhuvneshwar Kumar's non-selection implies that the selectors and team management are looking beyond the veteran seamer. He observed:
"Bhuvi and Shami are both now not part of the T20 squad. We don't know if Shami was available or not, because he was not there for the Tests. I feel Bhuvi would have been available, he had gone to New Zealand as well, but his name is not there in this team. It seems they are probably going away from Bhuvi."
Chopra feels Yuzvendra Chahal will be a part of India's playing XI in the three T20Is against Sri Lanka, reasoning:
"Yuzi Chahal is the only leg-spinner in the T20I squad, which means Ravi Bishnoi who used to be there with him, his name is no longer there, and Kuldeep Yadav is also not there. So the Indian team is ready to go with just one leg-spinner and it seems he will get to play."
India will likely field all three spinners - Chahal, Axar Patel and Washington Sundar - in the playing XI, with Axar and Sundar also providing the required depth in batting. However, they will have a tough choice to make if they want to field three specialist seamers and go with just two spinners.
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