Aakash Chopra,
Aakash Chopra (Image Credit: Twitter)

Last Update on: October 25th, 2021 at 04:03 pm

Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra was critical of India’s policy of playing five bowlers in yesterday’s high-voltage clash against Pakistan. Virat Kohli’s men were crushed by 10 wickets following a sublime all-round display from their arch-rivals.

Hardik Pandya, the supposed sixth bowling option, hasn’t yet bowled a single delivery for quite a while. A bad day for a regular bowler could mean India runs out of bowling options. Kohli tried his hand in the warmup game, but he isn’t consistent enough to be bowling at the highest level.

You can’t step onto the field with this 5-bowler combination anymore. You’ll now have two options. You can decide that you want a sixth bowler and replace Hardik with Shardul Thakur which is not a like-for-like replacement, let’s be honest. Whether you like Hardik or not it doesn’t matter. If he doesn’t play it will mean Jadeja will have to play at No.6 and Shardul at No.7 which is not an ideal combination, trust me. I will not advocate this.

Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan after Pakistan’s win.

I’ll ask you to stick with five bowlers but it can’t be these five together. It’s because Bhuvneshwar Kumar is not looking the same bowler; Shami blows hot and cold in T20 cricket, you see his stats and there are good days and some ordinary days too; Ravindra Jadeja is maybe your four-overs bowler but he’s not a wicket-taker.

“When you are playing five bowlers, each of those five should be this good that he never has a bad day. He’s not allowed to have a bad day. So I feel you can’t field these five bowlers,” Chopra said in a video on his YouTube channel.

“Against spin, our batters are not the same players” – Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra further pointed out India’s poor batsmanship against the spin of late. There was no real intent from them, and they failed to resort to rotating strike in the middle overs. The pressure was too much for the finishers to handle, and this should function as a ‘reality check’ to the Indian team, as per Chopra.

Virat Kohli and Babar Azam
(Babar Azam and Virat Kohli. Credits: Twitter)

We have stopped reading the ball off the hands. We are progressively losing the ability to rotate the strike against spinners. Kohli was displaying a masterclass at one end but the other batter was either defending or going for the big shots. Taking singles is an art and a mastery that is now lacking in Indian cricket. All our batters play really well but against spin, they are not just the same players. This was a reality check,” he concluded.

India has a few days off before they play against New Zealand. A loss in that game will be detrimental to India’s chances of making it out of the group.

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