Aakash Chopra feels Team India will have an arduous task in getting Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli to complete the fifth bowlers’ duties between the duo.
The Indian team is likely to go into the T20 World Cup with only five frontline bowling options, with Hardik Pandya unlikely to roll his arm over. The likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Suryakumar Yadav might have to be called into action if any of the regular bowlers are unable to bowl their full quota of overs.
Aakash Chopra: If Hardik Pandya Isn’t Bowling, India Is Pegged Back Somewhat As Ravindra Jadeja Isn’t 4 Over Bowler
While reflecting on Team India’s possible bowling lineup in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra opined that the Virat Kohli-led side might allow their opponents off the hook if both Ravindra Jadeja and the skipper bowl in the middle overs.
He explained: “When you are playing with five bowlers, Jaddu bowls in the middle overs – after the 6th and before the 14th – now if he is also going to bowl in that and you want to get an over from Kohli as well, I feel you will get stuck.”
The cricketer-turned-commentator added that Hardik Pandya’s inability to bowl will compromise Team India’s balance. Virat Kohli was expected to sit out in India’s second warm-up match against Australia, but he instead came on the field and even bowled 2 overs for the team. Virat Kohli conceded a decent 12 runs from his spell.
Aakash Chopra reasoned: “Team India’s balance is slightly awry, let’s be honest. If Hardik is not bowling, the Indian team is pegged back a little. Jadeja, the 4-over bowler in T20 cricket, is still a bit of a question mark.”
Team India has the option to strengthen their bowling by batting all-rounder spinner Ravindra Jadeja at no.6 and playing Shardul Thakur as the seam-bowling all-rounder at no.7. But they are unlikely to go that route as it will weaken their batting considerably.
Aakash Chopra: Varun Chakravarthy Should Have Been Used Better
Aakash Chopra also questioned Team India’s handling of Varun Chakravarthy in their warm-up match against Australia. Varun Chakravarthy conceded 23 runs off 2 overs and went wicketless.
India went off to a flier in the opening stages of the game as the spinners headed by Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, and Rahul Chahar took four out of the five wickets. Australia then went on to set a target of 153, thanks to the heroics of Marcus Stoinis’ quick-fire 41 and Steve Smith’s well-made 57.
“I feel Varun Chakravarthy should have been used better because if you don’t do that, you will get found out. You are thinking of hiding him and I am saying to give him some confidence because he has not played international cricket.”
The former India opener turned commentator is slightly worried about the mystery spinner having not bowled much before the crunch match against Pakistan.
Aakash Chopra said: “If someone hasn’t played international cricket and you get him to play an India-Pakistan match straightaway, he becomes nervous. I am slightly concerned about Varun Chakravarthy.”
Varun Chakravarthy played the IPL 2021 final for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on October 15. The team management might have also wanted the injury-prone bowler to get sufficient rest, apart from keeping the mystery spinner away from glaring eyes. He picked 17 wickets in the 2020 IPL season at an average of 20.94 from 13 games and also 18 scalps in 17 games in IPL 2021, averaging 24.88.