Former India batter Wasim Jaffer expressed his thoughts that Hardik Pandya bowled only three overs in the first ODI against West Indies in Barbados on Thursday. However, according to him, Hardik should have bowled at least five to six overs as well. He also said that if Pandya can bowl more overs with the new ball, Axar Patel can then play in the playing XI, which will strengthen the team as well.
He said on ESPNcricinfo: “I was little surprised that he [Pandya] only bowled three overs. I would have liked him to bowl five or six overs. I thought he bowled well, only the one over was a little expensive. I was a little surprised that he was taken off. Shardul [Thakur] is not known to bowl with the new ball. Umran Malik’s control with the new ball [is not there] because he is not a consistent ODI player.”
However, Wasim Jaffer also explained why Hardik’s overs are going to be crucial and how it brings left-arm spinner Axar into the picture. Notably, India played the first ODI in Barbados with Jadeja and Kuldeep as their spinners, leaving out Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal as well. The former batter expressed:
“If Pandya is bowling 5-6 over spells, then you can have Axar in the team. If the pitch is spinning, then Axar can come into the side and obviously your batting gets strengthened. Looking at the larger picture, Axar Patel, I see him playing. If he gets more game time under the belt, the pitches are going to spin… So if Hardik Pandya gives you 5-6 overs with the new ball, you can squeeze in Axar Patel.”
After restricting West Indies to 114, India made changes to their batting order and opened with Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill. While the latter was dismissed very cheaply, Kishan stepped up with the bat and went on to score 52 as well. Jaffer was impressed with Kishan’s batting but also added that he would have been happier had Kishan finished the game. However, Kishan smashed seven fours and a six as well.
“I think he played well, getting a fifty in a little bit of challenging conditions. With the new ball, it was a bit of a challenge. I thought their [West Indies] spinners bowled decently. He played well, took them on as and when the opportunity came. But I would have loved to see him finish the game and get a 70-odd not out,” Wasim Jaffer concluded.