Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra feels that India may make two changes to their playing XI following Hardik Pandya’s absence in the upcoming 2023 ODI World Cup game against New Zealand, scheduled for Sunday, October 22 at Dharamshala. However, the all-rounder sustained an ankle injury during their seven-wicket win over Bangladesh in Pune and he is currently at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore for further treatment as well.
Aakash Chopra said on his YouTube channel: “In my opinion, in his absence, Suryakumar Yadav should come in and play at No.6, and Mohammed Shami should replace Shardul Thakur as well. Now, unfortunately, only one player was ruled out, but that might lead to two changes being made to the playing XI. This shows the value of Hardik Pandya.”
Further added: “There is a little concern for India ahead of their match against New Zealand, because now without Hardik Pandya, they do not have a single bowling option among their top six batters. It is not the ideal balance, but it is the way it is. I think if Team India win the toss, they should look to bat first.”
The Indian team last defeated New Zealand in an ODI World Cup match way back in 2003. Since then, they have only faced them once – in the semi-finals of the 2019 edition in England where they lost as well. Notably, New Zealand are currently placed at the top of the points table with four wins. And, they surpassed India because of their superior net run rate as well. And, Aakash Chopra praised New Zealand’s bowling unit which has been in great form of late.
“New Zealand are playing really well at the moment. It does not matter whether Kane Williamson is there or not, they somehow make it work. They have a brilliant bowling outfit. Lockie Ferguson has been brilliant in the middle overs with his pace and bouncers. Mitchell Santner cannot be taken lightly at all. Team India anyway have an issue with left-arm spinners. The Indian batters can look to put some pressure on New Zealand’s sixth bowler,” Aakash Chopra concluded.