Former India opener Gautam Gambhir has picked his favourite India playing XI for the marquee clash against Pakistan in the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021. Often hailed as the “mother of all battles” – the two cricketing heavyweights (India and Pakistan) will square off against each other in the opening match of Group 2 on October 24. The other teams in the group are New Zealand, Afghanistan, and two other qualifying sides which are yet to be known.

Since both nations don’t play against each other due to tense political and diplomatic reasons, ICC events remain the only platform when cricket lovers can witness the electrifying experience of India vs Pakistan matches. Speaking about the high-voltage battle between Asian giants, the Delhi cricketer picked his India playing XI for their campaign opener against Pakistan.

During an interaction with the Star Sports network, the two-time world cup winner revealed his India XI: “KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma to open the batting, Virat Kohli to bat at No.3, Suryakumar Yadav at No.4, Rishabh Pant at No.5, Hardik at No.6, Jadeja at No.7, Bhuvi at No.8, Varun Chakravarthy at No.9, Shami at No.10 and Bumrah No.11.”

In Gambhir’s XI, the biggest surprise was the exclusion of premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. The latter has been making a comeback to India’s limited-overs setup after nearly three years. Ashwin was picked in India’s squad for the T20 World Cup ahead of the likes of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.

The 39-year-old also highlighted that he would have gone with Shardul Thakur instead of senior pro-Bhuvneshwar Kumar had the former been a part of India’s 15-man squad.

“Probably had I had Shardul Thakur, I would have picked him to bat at No.8 and Varun Chakravarthy at No.9 and then I could have probably gone with Shami and Bumrah,” Gambhir said.

Gautam Gambhir’s India XI vs Pakistan in T20 WC

Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Varun Chakravarthy, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah