‘He can give us runs with bat’: VVS Laxman calls for one replacement in India XI against New Zealand in T20 World Cup
- Former Indian batter VVS Laxman has suggested one change in Team India's playing XI for the game against New Zealand.
After a six-day break, Team India will be aiming to resurrect their 2021 T20 World Cup campaign when the side takes on New Zealand in its second Group 2 game on Sunday. Virat Kohli and co. made a horrific start to the edition, facing a 10-wicket defeat to arch-rivals Pakistan in Dubai.
Following the crushing loss, there have been significant speculations over a potential change in team combination, and former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman believes that the side should bring in Shardul Thakur for out-of-form pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Thakur was the only pacer in the Indian squad to sit out for the game against Pakistan.
“I would go for Shardul Thakur because Shardul can give runs with the bat, and he’s a wicket-taking option. It also increases the depth in the batting lineup. So, I would definitely go with Shardul ahead of Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar)," said Laxman on Star Sports.
"He (Bhuvneshwar) is an experienced bowler, but if you think about the balance and the combination of the playing eleven, I would probably prefer Shardul over Bhuvi.”
Bhuvneshwar endured a poor outing against Pakistan, conceding 25 runs in three overs without a wicket. Since his return to Team India earlier this year, the pacer has been largely inconsistent; taking 8 wickets in as many matches, four of which came in one game.
In the 2021 Indian Premier League, Kumar's struggles continued as he had only six wickets to his name in 11 games.
Shardul Thakur, meanwhile, ended IPL 2021 as joint-third highest wicket-taker, with 21 dismissals to his name in 16 matches. His bowling performances played a key role in Chennai Super Kings' title triumph.
Earlier, Team India captain Virat Kohli was asked about Thakur at the pre-match press conference on Saturday and he also confirmed that the bowler was a part of the team's plan.
"He's (Shardul) definitely a guy who's in our plans, constantly making a case of for himself. He is definitely someone who can bring a lot of value to the team,” Kohli said.
"What role he plays or where he fits in, that's something that I cannot obviously talk about right now. But yes, Shardul is someone who's got great potential and he will add great value to the team," he added.