Former India player Ajay Jadeja has said that, on the basis of current form, Harshal Patel is definitely a top contender to be picked for the T20 World Cup. Jadeja again stated that Harshal is next only to Jasprit Bumrah when it comes to selecting bowlers for the ICC event. However, he claimed 3 for 22 in the third T20I against West Indies on Sunday.
While discussing the pacer’s performance, Jadeja said on Cricbuzz: “The T20 World Cup is a long way away but he is definitely a tick for the World Cup at this stage.”
He further added: “The more you play Harshal, people will get used to something. They keep watching you and the pattern of your bowling – when do you bowl slower ones and yorkers.”If you expose him more, he might be less effective. But Australia grounds are huge, where he would be very useful. At this moment, if the Indian team had to be picked, you’ll probably write his name alongside Bumrah.”
On the other hand, Indian wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik also backed Jadeja’s views and shared that Harshal Patel has been one of the positives in the whole series. He said: “From the time he has come into the Indian team, he has done everything right. Rohit has used him brilliantly as well, bringing him in those crucial overs once the field spreads. Every time he feels like he needs a wicket, he brings him on, which is very clever.”
Ajay Jadeja further stated that the pacer is playing a crucial role in the current Indian T20 squad in Jasprit Bumrah’s absence, particularly when bowling second as well. Having made his T20I debut last year, he has picked up nine wickets in five matches at an average of 17.33 and an economy rate of 8.21 as well.
He explained: “West Indies were moving along (in the chase on Sunday) but Harshal Patel slowed them down. Every time his over came, the target seemed to go away a little bit. And then West Indies would try and catch up – four overs for 22 for a guy who bowls mostly at the end.”
“I think Harshal Patel’s probably playing the key role at the moment when we are defending. It is almost like what Jasprit Bumrah was doing. But with Bumrah it’s many things. What surprises me is that with Harshal Patel it’s just that slower one and people still have no clue what to do with it,” Ajay Jadeja concluded.