India men's cricket team clash against Australia in their first match of the ICC World Cup 2023 at Chennai's MA Chidambaram Stadium on October 8. India made one major change to their final team on the squad submission deadline day with Ravichandran Ashwin replacing bowling all-rounder Axar Patel. But the veteran spinner fails to find a place in Sunil Gavaskar's India playing eleven against Australia.
With only days remaining to India's campaign for the biggest trophy in 50-over cricket, fans and the former cricketers are guessing the playing eleven for the Men in Blue for the World Cup. Ashwin's late inclusion definitely increases selection headache for the management but it also adds a major boost to the bowling unit.
While speaking to Star Sports, tournament broadcasters, Gavaskar picked India's preferred eleven for the Australia game. His first seven - Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja showed no surprises but his bowling options were hard to ignore.
The former Indian captain picked Mohammed Shami over Shardul Thakur and avoided selecting Ashwin to partner with Jadeja in the spin unit. The Indian team will find it hard to select Ashwin regularly in the majority of World Cup matches but the Chennai's pitch, which favours spinners heavily, might force Rohit to go with three spinners for the Australia game.
"In any team, the top-three batters are quite important," Gavaskar said. "A good start from the openers helps the others that follow to play freely. The contribution from the opening pair is going to crucial. You may pick three fast bowlers - Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah.
"If they want to go with two seamers since they already have Hardik Pandya then an extra spinner can be included. You can have Ashwin in the eleven. So go with main bowlers be it three fast bowlers that include Siraj, Shami and Bumrah. If you want someone to team up with Kuldeep Yadav then go with a proper bowler in Jadeja if it's on a turning track. Go with proper bowlers who only think about wickets. Your top-7 batters can take care of the runs."
Sunil Gavaskar's Playing XI vs Australia: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah