DUBAI (UAE): Going into the game against New Zealand, the Indian team management would definitely have to sit down and decide whether they will go in with the same spin-bowling duo of Varun Chakravarthy and Ravindra Jadeja or pick one from R Ashwin and Rahul Chahar.
While Chahar is short on experience, Ashwin last played a T20I back in 2017 against West Indies. But then, Ashwin is one of the most experienced players in the squad. While former Australia pacer Brett Lee feels Ashwin has a lot to offer, he was quick to point out that picking the off-spinner in the XI is a call that the captain will have to take with the selectors.
“If you are after an angle about Ashwin, he is first and foremost a wonderful cricketer. I am a big fan and he has got a lot to offer, he is very very experienced. He is a great leader and of course, he can play every single game. They (team management) chose not to play him and that is on them. But whether he should be in the XI is upto the selectors and captain to make a call,” he told ANI.
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Interestingly, the match against New Zealand is a must-win game for India if they wish to get the campaign back on track after losing the first game against Pakistan and Lee feels the Kiwi outfit has a well-balanced look to it.
“The Kiwis have got an amazing structure and some beautiful players that swing the ball at the top of the order to get one, two, three batsmen out, they got guys at the top of the order who can dominate, they got guys who can hit through the middle period and they have good death bowlers, so I am really impressed with the Kiwis,” he said.
The Indian unit could also wear a balanced look if all-rounder Hardik Pandya is cleared to bowl. His back holding up at training on Wednesday after he bowled a short spell for around 15 minutes came as a huge sigh of relief for the Indian team management.
Hardik was the highlight of the training session at the ICC Academy on Wednesday as he bowled for a short span of around 15 minutes. This after he ran long sprints under the watchful eyes of strength and conditioning coach Nick Webb and Soham Desai. The fitness drill also lasted around 20-25 minutes.
He then put on his batting gears and walked into the nets to fine-tune his batting skills. Taking throwdowns, he went full throttle and there was no holding back. In fact, there was also a short stop as MS Dhoni walked up to the side of the nets and passed on some instructions before the net session resumed.
The all-rounder had hurt his shoulder during the game against Pakistan, but the scan report cleared him of any injury concern. With the back also holding up, a good session on Saturday could indeed see him ready to play as an all-rounder on Sunday.