India announced their squad for the five-match T20I series against South Africa on May 22 (Sunday). A few of the selections came as a surprise while some earned a well-deserved chance after doing well in the last few years. In the latest interaction, former Indian cricketer Nikhil Chopra discussed the selections and chose his playing XI for the series. Chopra thinks it is good that the selectors chose Umran Malik due to his fine performance in IPL 2022. He also hailed Arshdeep Singh for his death bowling skills. Chopra reckoned that Hardik Pandya is back in form, but added it is a lifeline given to Venkatesh Iyer due to his average performances in the ongoing season of the IPL.
“Happy that Umran Malik has received his call-up due to his impressive performance in the season. Arshdeep has been terrific in the death overs so another good call-up. This is what you want as a youngster when you do well in the IPL and domestic cricket and finally earn an opportunity in the Indian team. Hardik Pandya has been bowling at 140s, is doing well, and is back in form,” said Chopra. “It’s a lifeline for Venkatesh Iyer, given his form in the ongoing IPL season. Most of the players in this squad will get an opportunity if the team wins the first three matches. This team is basically an attempt to make a combination for forming the team in the T20 World Cup,” added Chopra.
Chopra thinks the team is likely to play with both Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in the Indian conditions. He chose two fast bowlers like Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh in the starting XI and added that Pandya will provide balance to the team if he can deliver two-three overs. “The team management will look to play with both Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal as the series will be played in India. Then, two fast bowlers, Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar Kumar] will play in all the matches, and Arshdeep will be the other one. If Hardik Pandya can give two-three overs, then certainly the load will be less on the bowling unit, and will provide more balance to the team,” added Chopra.
Here is Nikhil Chopra’s India XI for South Africa T20Is: KL Rahul (c), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh