India will be aiming to open their account in the 5-match T20I series against South Africa in Visakhapatnam to avoid a first bilateral T20I series defeat at home. Both the defeats they have suffered thus far have come in two different forms. While it was their bowling that took a beating in the first T20I as the Proteas chased down a target of 212, their batters failed to reach a winning total in the second T20I.
A lot of people from the cricket fraternity asked for the inclusion of either Umran Malik or Arshdeep Singh in the squad. However, including them would most likely result in Avesh Khan getting dropped. Former fast bowler Ashish Nehra said that it is unlikely that Avesh will be dropped for the match, considering he had returned figures of 0/17 and bowled just three overs..
During a chat on Cricbuzz, Ashish Nehra said, “It is not like you’ve lost nine matches or something. It is just two games and its because the other team played well. So unless there is a big change in the conditions, it is going to be the same team. The other players who are sitting outside, when they get a chance to play even they will be given a run of four or five matches.”
He further added, “Avesh Khan has not done too badly. He wasn’t even bowled completely (in the second T20I). So unless they want to add one more fast bowler or else if they feel two spinners are less, it is better to go with the same eleven.”
Nehra said that India skipper, Rishabh Pant may have made a mistake in bringing on Axar Patel late in the match during the second T20I. Ashish Nehra said that Rishabh Pant should be looking at how he is using his bowlers.
Describing the same, Axar Patel said, “It was going to be difficult (to defend 149) in the second T20I despite them taking three wickets (in the powerplay). Rishabh Pant should be looking at how the middle overs went. Harshal Patel is the kind of bowler who does the job in the death overs but Axar Patel should not be brought on so late in the match. It is not like there is a guarantee that he would have taken wickets if he was brought on earlier.”
He further added, “Hardik Pandya bowled one over and then Harshal bowled another. It is not like it was David Miller batting for South Africa so I can’t see any reason for not bringing on Axar Patel at the time. I am not saying the game would have gone their way for sure but there are some bowlers who can bowl at any time in a game and some who are suited to a particular period or match situation. Pant was a bit late in bringing on Axar in the second T20I.”