Aakash Chopra has picked his Indian XI for the first Test against New Zealand starting on Thursday in Kanpur.
The Indian selectors opted to rest the likes of Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami for the Test series against the Black Caps. While Virat Kohli has also been rested for the first Test, KL Rahul has been ruled out of the series due to a thigh injury.
While picking his preferred Indian XI in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra opined that they should refrain from going in with an extra batter. He elaborated:
"The biggest question is six or five batsmen. You can think about playing six batsmen because Kohli, Rohit, Pant and Rahul are not there - all your main batting is gone. So you might want to go with an extra batsman. I will say resist the temptation, it's okay."
While naming his top five, the cricketer-turned-commentator highlighted that Ravindra Jadeja can wield his willow at No. 6 Aakash Chopra observed:
"Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Pujara at three, Rahane at four, Iyer at five. These will be your five batsmen. After that, play Jadeja at six. Jadeja can bat at six. Whichever keeper plays, it should be Saha in my opinion, keep him at seven."
Jadeja batted at No. 5 for Team India in the last Test against England at the Oval, even ahead of Ajinkya Rahane. Although the southpaw contributed just 27 runs across the two innings, he has made consistent contributions with the bat over the last few years.
"Axar Patel can also bat" - Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra wants Team India to play a three-pronged spin attack of Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel. He reasoned:
"At eight, you keep Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar at nine. Axar can also bat. So you have a lot of batting. I think don't compromise on the fact that you will need five full bowlers. It is the Kanpur ground, it will get dark early in the evening, so you might lose a few overs."
The 44-year-old also wants Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj to play ahead of Ishant Sharma. Aakash Chopra said:
"My two fast bowlers will be Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Siraj because they will get the ball to reverse swing better than Ishant Sharma."
Also ReadArticle Continues below
Aakash Chopra's Indian XI: Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj