The India National Cricket Team might have produced some remarkable results in ODIs of late; they still have some areas to look into and iron out the flaws ahead of the 2019 World Cup. Meanwhile, Ajay Jadeja, ahead of India’s first ODI against Australia in Hyderabad, talked on a specific issue – the 5,6 and 7 number slot players in our ODI setup. Furthermore, he spoke on the role of Hardik Pandya and Vijay Shankar in the team.

There are no ideal replacements – Jadeja

India as a unit has its own merits and demerits. Over a year we have seen the top three (Rohit, Dhawan and Kohli), scoring the bulk of runs in any of the series. Though it looks convincing and brings in confidence; to know what will happen they won’t stand tall on a day keeps everyone worried as well. One of the examples of the same was during the finale of Champions Trophy 2017 – when Pakistan reduced India to 33/3. As India was chasing in excess of 330, early jitters saw them going down by 180 runs against their arch-rivals.

Ajay Jadeja was along with Zaheer Khan previewing India’s first ODI against Australia for Cricbuzz. During the interaction, he noted India’s bowling and the top three are settled; what needs to look upon is the lower middle order. Jadeja talked of different situations – if India is reeling at 20/2 at one stage, the importance of number four in the team. And, if India is 220/2, what role does the pinch hitters will play.

Shankar cannot be Pandya – Ajay

Ajay Jadeja, Vijay Shankar, Hardik Pandya
Ajay Jadeja reckoned the role of Vijay Shankar is different as that of Hardik Pandya in the Indian team. Image Courtesy: Getty

Hardik Pandya, who had been a pinch hitter, though not the most effective of one is currently nursing a lower-back injury and is out of the team. To fill his presence, Tamil Nadu all-rounder, Vijay Shankar, is listed to start in the ODIs. In the past, we have seen Hardik doing the wonders with the bat – hitting spinners over the boundary ropes at will.

Meanwhile, Vijay Shankar is someone who is has a stable head and prefers to play according to the situation. Their style of play is entirely different and thus their role, despite playing at the seventh spot. Jadeja said,

“What Hardik can do, Vijay Shankar will not be able to do. I hope he proves us all wrong and he hits five sixes in an over. But whatever little of what I have seen of both of them that they are not the ideal replacements. There aren’t any ideal replacements.”

Vijay Shankar, however, started in the XI for the first ODI.