India lost to New Zealand by 21 runs in the first T20I of the three-match series at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi on Friday, January 27. Former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer believes that the team management should consider replacing fast bowler Umran Malik, who underbowled in the first match, with an extra batter for the next match.
After being asked to bat first, New Zealand scored 176 for the loss of six wickets in 20 overs. While the Indian fast bowlers struggled and conceded a lot of runs, the spinners impressed in the opening game. The Men in Blue were 127-8 at one stage in the run chase, but Washington Sundar scored a fifty to help the team reach a respectable total of 155 runs.
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He Should Have Thought Cutters Were Probably A Better Option – Wasim Jaffer
Speaking with ESPNcricinfo, Wasim Jaffer stated that Umran Malik would struggle in the shorter format as he lacks variations in his bowling. The former Indian opener believes that one extra batter, Jitesh Sharma or Prithvi Shaw, can replace Umran to strengthen the batting order in the upcoming match.
“Unless he varies his pace, Umran Malik in this format (is likely to struggle). Even today (Friday), when he came into bowl, he should have thought cutters were probably a better option. But he doesn’t bowl that. Somebody bowling at 145 kph on these kinds of pitches, you like to face that kind of stuff because the ball goes off the bat so quickly,” Wasim Jaffer said.
“Probably Jitesh Sharma or even Prithvi Shaw in place of him. Jitesh is better option because you need somebody to bat lower down the order. I feel one batter more would solve the purpose,” he added.
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Umran Malik bowled only one over the series opener and conceded 16 runs. Jitesh Sharma received his first call-up to Team India for the T20I series against Sri Lanka after Sanju Samson was injured in the first match. Sharma was rewarded with his performances with Punjab Kings (PBKS) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022.
Prithvi Shaw was recalled to the Indian team after performing well in domestic cricket, and he played only one T20I for the national team, in which he was dismissed for a golden duck. India will take on New Zealand in the second T20I in Lucknow on Sunday, January 29.
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