Former India batting coach wants Rishabh Pant to make changes, names Avesh Khan, Axar Patel's replacements for 3rd T20I

Updated on Jun 14, 2022 09:31 AM IST

India vs South Africa: The third T20I will be a do-or-die game for the hosts but it remains to be seen whether Rishabh Pant and head coach Rahul Dravid make any changes to the playing eleven.

India's Avesh Khan against South Africa in 1st T20I at Delhi(BCCI)
India's Avesh Khan against South Africa in 1st T20I at Delhi(BCCI)
By, New Delhi

Trailing 0-2 in the five-game T20I series, Rishabh Pant and Co. face a stiff challenge as the action moves to Vishakhapatnam. India need to win the remaining three games to seal the T20I assignment while South Africa are staring at a series win away from home. It will be a do-or-die game for the hosts but it remains to be seen whether Pant and head coach Rahul Dravid make any changes to the playing eleven. India went with an unchanged side despite suffering defeat in the series opener at Delhi.

In the second game at Cuttack, Bhuvneshwar Kumar scythed through the Proteas' top order but found no support from other bowlers. Temba Bavuma had a great partnership with Heinrich Klaasen, who hit a blistering 81 to take South Africa home. Harshal Patel was also economical and got a key wicket of Klaasen but Avesh Khan went wicketless. 

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Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal were extremely expensive too. Axar could be given just one over in which he leaked 19 runs, while Chahal was smashed for 49 runs in his four overs.

Few Indian players have shown individual brilliance but haven't fired in unison so far. But should the team management opt for a rejigged eleven for the third T20 International? Former India player Sanjay Bangar believes Arshdeep Singh should replace Avesh and Ravi Bishnoi should come in place of Axar.

"We have a lot of options for the first six overs, so we can try out Arshdeep in place of Avesh Khan," said Bangar in interaction with Star Sports.

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"Who can be played in place of Axar Patel? One option can be to play Bishnoi. If two wrist-spinners can give wickets to the Indian team in the middle overs, then they can break the momentum slightly," added the former India batting coach.

As India look to return to winning ways, Pant has to lead from the front and check all boxes as the leader. The 24-year-old dasher was criticised after Axar came in to bat ahead of Dinesh Karthik in the last T20I.

Karthik – at the peak of his batting prowess – was sent at No.7 and he hit an unbeaten 21-ball 30, laced with two sixes and as many boundaries. It helped India finish with 148 for 6. But Axar was scratchy during his stay in the middle. He was dismissed for 10 off 11 by Anrich Nortje.

If bowling let India down in the first game, a poor batting show cost them the second match. South Africa, on the other hand, have ticked all boxes away from home.

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