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Will You Choose Pant or Karthik For Australia T20I?

India will aim to iron out all their shortcomings during the three-match T20I series against Australia, which begins in Mohali on Tuesday, as they look to give final touches to their preparations for next month’s T20 World Cup.

The time for experimentation is over as India are set go in the Australia series with their best possible combination, with their main focus being on having a settled combination in place ahead of the World Cup.

World Champions Australia will prove to be a tough contender, with several match-winners in their squad including Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Tim David and Captain Aaron Finch.

There are a few areas of concern for the Indian team, which were exposed during their below par Asia Cup campaign.

Opener K L Rahul’s form is a worry as he was unable to score consistently or quickly, which affected India’s momentum in the Powerplay during the Asia Cup.

Though Captain Rohit Sharma has come out in support of his deputy Rahul, it is clear that KL needs to score runs in the back-to-back T20I series against Australia and South Africa to keep his place in the playing XI.

Also adding to his woes is Virat Kohli’s swashbuckling century while opening the batting against Afghanistan, with Rohit marking him out as the third opener, which also indirectly puts Rahul on notice.

With Kohli cementing the No 3 slot, the swashbuckling duo of Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya to follow, India boast of a strong middle order.

However, the lower middle order remains a matter of concern with India struggling to find big-hitters, who can hit boundaries at will in the last few overs.

The experiment of trying out Rishabh Pant ahead of ‘finisher’ Dinesh Karthik backfired in the Asia Cup and the latter could come back into the team against Australia, while Deepak Hooda needs some clarity about his role and also the security of an extended run in the playing XI.

The return of pace duo Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel will take care of India’s recent struggles with the ball in the death overs.

With India set to field three specialist seamers with an eye on the T20 World Cup, it would be a tough choice between Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Arshdeep Singh for the third seamer’s slot while Deepak Chahar is also another capable contender with the ball.

Yuzvendra Chahal will lead the spin department, while the team could pick either Ravichandran Ashwin or Axar Patel as the second spinner depending on the opposition’s batting line-up.

My Likely XI: Rohit Sharma, K L Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Arshdeep Singh.

Who do you think should be part of India’s playing XI for the first T20 International against Australia?

Please select your team from the list below and do post your playing XI in the message board below:

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