Sunil Gavaskar believes Axar Patel’s inclusion won’t be a surprise for series decider
The Twenty20 International is a couple of hours away at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town on February 24. However, the former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar sheds light on the all-important clash.
The veteran opening batsman Gavaskar maintains Twenty20 cricket has been a great source of entertainment. He added the inclement weather should not stop the game while citing the example of Test format. The threat of surface being damaged due to rain has loomed large. It has further played in minds owing to such conditions.
“T20 is pure entertainment and so a little rain should not stop play. It’s a different matter of course if it’s a five-day Test as the pitch could change with the rain,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for Times of India.
Interestingly, the 68-year-old Gavaskar believes India will culminate the series on high if they happen to clinch T20I series.
“It has all come down to the last game of the tour. India will consider the tour a success if they prevail over the Proteas in the Newlands encounter,” Gavaskar maintained in his column.
Moreover, Gavaskar didn’t shy away from praising South African batters. The batting show saw Proteas leveling the T20I series with Centurion win.
Pertinently, wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen alongside skipper Jean-Paul Duminy rose to the occasion. Both smashed the fifties each before the latter finished it off with a six.
“The South Africans batted brilliantly to win the second game at Centurion and will be buoyed by that victory. It was not just the win, but the manner in which they dealt with their tormentor in the One-day series, Yuzvendra Chahal that will please them,” Gavaskar asserted.
Interestingly, Gavaskar reiterated it could be another big scoring contest. This came while predicting if the wicket would prove flat like it appeared to be in the ODI series. However, which jolted the Proteas by 5-1.
“If the pitch is as flat as it was for the One-day game played earlier in the month, there could well be another big scoring game,” Gavaskar remarked in his piece.
With the win boosting the morale of the hosts, Gavaskar simultaneously observed why Klaasen has succeeded against the 27-year-old leg-spinner, Chahal.
“The pitches at Centurion and Johannesburg have been on the slower side and when Chahal flights the ball, it comes even slower off the pitch, which lets the Proteas batsmen, especially Heinrich Klassen, to use the depth of the crease to pull him or advance down the pitch to loft him into the stands,” Gavaskar added in his column.
Axar Patel’s inclusion, not a surprise feels Sunil Gavaskar:
Aggressive in approach Chahal claimed 16 wickets in the recently completed six-match ODI series. He went for 64 in his four overs in the Centurion T20I.
“This is the second game that Chahal has been hammered, so it won’t be a surprise if Axar Patel gets to play in his place at Newlands,” Gavaskar further added.
However, Gavaskar praised Mahendra Singh Dhoni for smashing his second T20I fifty while adding Manish Pandey has proved his credentials. He further feels that partnership had set the tune for India before Proteas returned with a bang. The abysmal show with the bat throughout the limited-overs series has haunted the Proteas.
“Manish Pandey, who has been waiting for his chance, grabbed it with both hands and all those who were doubting MS Dhoni’s finishing ability would be silenced by his hitting in the game. It was their near century partnership that took India to the total that they eventually reached,” Gavaskar concludes.
With the game about to begin, India would be relying more on a top-order. On the other front, South Africa would be aiming to replicate Centurion performance.
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Tahir Ibn Manzoor