Ahead of the second encounter in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar has picked his ideal playing XI for the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP).
While speaking on ‘Sports Tak,’ the cricket-turned-commentator mentioned that he would go for Chris Gayle even though the Jamaican might struggle on the slow pitches in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Gavaskar named KL Rahul as Gayle’s partner.
“Chris Gayle should be given opportunities in the initial phase of the tournament. Gayle is one such player who starts a bit slowly in the competition. It won’t be easy for him to bat on the slow pitches of UAE. Teams are well aware that Gayle finds facing spinners challenging rather than pacers. I want to play Gayle since he is also a left-handed batsman and I have a right-hander KL Rahul as the other opener.”
Gavaskar selected India opener Mayank Agarwal and West Indies wicket-keeper batsman Nicholas Pooran as the No. 3 and No. 4 batsman in his ideal KXIP XI.
“I’ll have Mayank Agarwal at three and Nicholas Pooran at four as they make another right hand-left hand pair. And at No.5, I will have Sarfaraz Khan because he has been brilliant in the domestic circuit. He even scored a triple century and a double century. The self-confidence that Sarfaraz earned through the recent performances will help him to score a lot of runs in the upcoming season.”
The Mumbaikar picked Australian superstar Glenn Maxwell for number five slot. He also mentioned that Maxwell brings a lot of flexibility in the batting order and can be sent up the order as well if the opening pair does well.
“At No.6, I will choose Glenn Maxwell, who can be sent at No.4 because of the flexibility he possesses. Also, if Rahul and Gayle give a good start, then Maxwell can come in at No.3 as well.”
I would play Ravi Bishnoi in the initial phase of the tournament: Gavaskar
On the bowling front, the former India international went with Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Shami as his first two choices. He also picked young gun Ravi Bishnoi with a hope that the leggie could do well in the first half of IPL 2020.
“I will definitely go for Mujeeb because the pitches will offer help to spinners and Mujeeb can bowl well on those tracks. Yes, Mohammed Shami must be there in the playing XI.”
“In the initial matches of the tournament, I will give opportunities to Ravi Bishnoi, who was the part of India Under-19 team. He will not feel that much pressure at the beginning of IPL 2020. And if you play him later, he might feel the pressure. So I want to have Ravi in my team.”
Gavaskar signed off by selecting Murugan Ashwin and Ishan Porel as his final two bowlers.
“I will play Murugan Ashwin and Ishan Porel, as remaining bowlers.”
Here is Sunil Gavaskar’s ideal KXIP playing XI:
KL Rahul (c), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan, Glenn Maxwell, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Murugan Ashwin, Ishan Porel.