India-Australia Playing XI tip-off: Bumrah for Umesh, Chahar for Bhuvneshwar, Ashwin for Chahal

After the defeat in the first match, India skipper Rohit Sharma has blamed the defeat on bowlers. Despite putting up a formidable score of 208 in the first T20I, India lost the match by four wickets.

India’s ‘three-and-a-half’ pronged pace attack, including Hardik Pandya, conceded 150 runs in 14 overs in the first match. In this backdrop, a fit and fiery Bumrah is a pre-requisite for India as the home bowlers are increasingly being found out on batting belters. Indian Express argues for the inclusion of Jasprit Bumrah, Deepak Chahar and R Ashwin for the second match against Australia.

Bumrah for Umesh

If his inclusion to the Indian side was surprising after Mohammed Shami tested Covid positive, him getting picked ahead of Deepak Chahar, standby for the T20 World Cup, raised more eyebrows. Jasprit Bumrah’s fitness status will be a matter of attention when an out-of-sorts Indian team will look at course correction options against Australia in the second T20 and strive to keep the three-match series alive. Bumrah, who has been out of action since the end of the England tour, skipped the Asia Cup due to a back injury. However, to everyone’s surprise, the team management didn’t play him during the high-scoring first T20I in Mohali, raising doubts about whether he has still attained peak fitness or not. However, Suryakumar Yadav on Thursday confirmed that fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah is fully fit and ready to play.

Chahar for Bhuvneshwar

Deepak Chahar not playing in the first T20I was another questionable decision by the team management. Chahar, who has bagged his career-best match figure in Nagpur last time he played, might replace Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the playing XI. Kumar, who was the highest wicket-taker in the Asia Cup, has already been taken to the cleaners. He has leaked 49 runs in the three penultimate overs (19th) that he bowled against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia. His 16-run 19th over allowed Australia to pull off a record chase. The legendary Sunil Gavaskar too had shared his concern over Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s poor show at the death overs and said it is a “real concern” for India, going into next month’s T20 World Cup.

R Ashwin for Yuzvendra Chahal

Yuzvendra Chahal, who has been India’s go-to spinner in all conditions, isn’t looking menacing anymore. He has been expensive in the last few games. India might play seasoned pro R Ashwin in Nagpur, where the pich will be on the slower side. Captain Rohit Sharma, in his pre-series press conference, had praised Ashwin and saod that the off-spinner adds variety to the attack. He has also been very impressed with his batting. “Ashwin gives depth to our batting line-up,” he had said.

Australia likely to remain unchange

Australia, on the other hand, have looked like a well-oiled machine, despite the absence of key players such as David Warner, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh. It is highly unlikely that they would make any change in the playing XI.

Predicted Playing XIs

India: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Dinesh Karthik, R Ashwin, Harshal Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal.

Australia: Aaron Finch, Cameron Green, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Josh Inglis, Tim David, Matthew Wade, Pat Cummins, Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood

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