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'I have a feeling he may not play': Sanjay Manjrekar on India's Playing XI for 5th T20I against England

Former cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar weighs in on India's team combination for the fifth T20I against England on Saturday.
File image of Sanjay Manjrekar.(File)
Updated on Mar 20, 2021 05:12 PM IST

Former batsman Sanjay Manjrekar feels India may not replace out-of-form KL Rahul with Ishan Kishan for the fifth and final T20I against England, which takes place at the Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday, even if the latter attains match fitness.

KL Rahul has managed two ducks, and two scores of 1 and 14, respectively, in the series so far. On the other hand, Kishan smashed an attractive fifty on his debut in the second match of the series. He failed to deliver in the third and had to sit out of the last game due to a groin issue.

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Manjrekar said that by playing Rahul in all the T20Is so far, despite his poor form, skipper Virat Kohli has proven that the management is ready to give Rahul a long rope and they may not want to tinker with the winning combination for the series decider, which is currently locked at 2-2.

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"It gets a bit tricky now considering that this is a game both teams desperately want to win. I have a feeling Ishan Kishan may not play, which is unfortunate, and that niggle may have also helped the India team out because they want to keep backing KL Rahul.

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They [India] want to give KL Rahul a long rope. He gets another game and they (the management) tell him that because you're out of form and you're a class player, you'll get another game. But he doesn't get the license to consume more balls than necessary. It's good that his 14 off 17 [balls] didn't come to hurt India but it hurt England for sure because that's exactly what Malan got; 14 of 17 [balls]. I would love to have Ishan Kishan back if the niggle is out of the way but let's see how it goes," Manjrekar explained while speaking to ESPNCricinfo after the 4th T20I.

-"Don't expect changes in quantity of bowlers"-

India is a side that bats deep and has also fielded five bowlers throughout. When asked whether India will continue with the same combination, Manjrekar said: "I think they are okay for the moment. You might think they are a bit batting heavy because very often they have not used all their batting because Washington Sundar is a batsman worth the salt in T20 cricket. I don't see India making any changes with regards to the quantity of bowlers.

"Maybe, they will have a look at Washington Sundar and the pitch being the way it is and if they bowl again in the second half of the game, they might think of somebody like a Tewatia. They won't play Axar Patel as they have far too many left-handers in that England team. But trying out Tewatia is a risk I doubt they will take."

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