Former India batter turned coach Wasim Jaffer has stated that Team India could think of playing an extra seamer in place of Axar Patel against South Africa in Perth in the T20 World Cup 2022 on Sunday, October 30. He picked Harshal Patel as a likely replacement as he can contribute with the bat as well.
Jaffer said to ESPNcricinfo: “That could be an option. But if you are looking at replacing him (Axar) with a fast bowler, you need someone who can bat a bit. Harshal Patel could be an option. You cannot weaken your batting. Ashwin could come in at seven if India plays another pacer. Then Harshal can come after him.”
However, Harshal Patel has not been in good form since returning from injury. He proved quite expensive in the T20Is at home against South Africa and had a not-so-good show in warm-up matches ahead of the World Cup as well.
Wasim Jaffer again said: “Axar is a better batter than Harshal. Also, India already have three fast bowlers, plus Hardik Pandya. If all four bowl their four overs each, that’s 16 overs out of the way. That leaves only four overs of spin, so that shouldn’t be an issue.“Axar’s batting, I feel, will come in handy. He has played match-winning knocks for India. Would still go for Axar, not for his bowling, but more for his batting.”
Meanwhile, former India keeper-batter Deep Dasgupta backed Jaffer’s views over Axar’s inclusion as well. He further shared the fact that the all-rounder is the only left-hander India have in the playing XI (considering Rishabh Pant is not picked again).
Dasgupta explained: “Axar is the only left-hander in the current playing XI. Against Pakistan, he was promoted in the batting order. South Africa have a good left-arm spinner in Keshav Maharaj. If India get a good start, then, when Keshav is bowling in the middle overs, we could see Axar coming in at 4-5.”We already have four seamers, so it’s quite a balanced attack. I don’t think there is a need for change.”