Ex-India cricketers 'baffled' and 'mind-blown' at Hardik Pandya's tactical botch | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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'When a guy gets you 3 wickets in an over...': Ex-India cricketers 'baffled', 'mind-blown' at Hardik's tactical botch

Aug 07, 2023 04:53 PM IST

If Hardik's post-match comments has fetched in criticism in abundance, the all-rounder is now facing flak for not giving Yuzvendra Chahal a final over vs WI.

India have fallen 0-2 behind the West Indies in the ongoing T20I series with a 2-wicket defeat in Guyana on Sunday and Hardik Pandya is having to face the brunt of it. The India captain has come in the firing due to certain questionable tactics that many feel have hurt the team in its quest of achieving perfection. Phrases like 'a young team will make mistakes' have not gone down well ex-cricketers, with questions being raised of Hardik's 'callous' attitude after the No. 1-ranked team India got outplayed by a 7th-positioned West Indies thrice in four matches.

India's captain Hardik Pandya is bowled by West Indies' Alzarri Joseph.(AP)
India's captain Hardik Pandya is bowled by West Indies' Alzarri Joseph.(AP)

If Hardik's post-match comments has fetched in criticism in abundance, the all-rounder is now facing flak for not giving Yuzvendra Chahal a final over against West Indies' tail. With 12 needed off the final over, Hardik handed the ball to Mukesh Kumar, when Chahal – who had picked up 2 wickets in his previous over – would have been the obvious choice. West Indies needed just 5 balls to knock off the runs and helped themselves to a 2-0 win. After the match, Hardik's decision of not giving Chahal another over after the 16th left former India cricketers Abhinav Mukund and Robin Uthappa flabbergasted. While Mukund felt Chahal should have been preferred over Arshdeep for the 18th over, Uthappa felt a leg-spinner would have proven to be far more threatening for the Windies tail than a rookie pacer.

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"Ten times out of ten you would have gone with Chahal and tried to close out the game there, especially with Alzarri Joseph in there. I understand that the left-hander is still there, but you've got Hetmyer out in the previous over bowling a full one and you have the bigger boundary to deal with," Mukund, who played 7 Tests for India, said on JioCinema.

"I was a bit baffled by the decision to go back to Arshdeep because he's your strike bowler, your lead bowler. If you wanted to bowl him, you could bowl him in the 19th over, left Mukesh the last over, or even brought Arshdeep for the final over depending on the number of runs required."

Robin Uthappa 'mind-blown'

The two T20Is witnessed 2 similar targets prove match-winning. While India failed to chase down 150 in the series opener, West Indies did so with 7 balls to spare. After putting up 152/7 courtesy some lower-order hitting from Ravi Bishnoi, India enjoyed a perfect start when Hardik dismissed Brandon King and Johnson Charles in the first over itself but a counter-attacking half-century from Nicholas Pooran threatened to take the game away from the Indians. With Pooran firing on all cylinders and the hopes of a series-levelling win slowly fading, India turned the tables, with Mukesh first dismissing the dangerous Pooran and Chahal then scalping Shimron Hetmyer and Jason Holder in the same over. And still, despite having on the mat at 129/8, Hardik got his tactics wrong, which Uthappa still can't wrap his head around.

"I have one expression – one Gen-Z expression for this moment – 'poof' and not in a nice way. I am just mind-blown by how when a guy gets you three wickets in an over (Chahal took two and one was a run-out) essentially you don't bring him back for another one and kind of close the game completely," said Uthappa on JioCinema.

"The likes of Alzarri Joseph are not going to contend with the experience and class of a Yuzi Chahal. He knows how to bowl to these lower-order batsmen, he know how to get them out. And Akeal Hosein is not going to take him on, not at that point with three overs to go. He would have backed himself with two overs to go perhaps, not three overs to go. So, you knew there was an error in judgement there."

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