Aakash Chopra critical of India's decision to send Axar Patel ahead of Dinesh Karthik in Cuttack T20I against South Africa

The former India Test opener questioned why the designated powerhitter wasn't sent ahead of the spin allrounder?
Dinesh Karthik scored 30* off 21 balls in the Cuttack T20I.?width=963&height=541&resizemode=4

Sent ahead of Dinesh Karthik, who made 30* off 21 balls at No.7, Axar Patel could muster only 10 runs off his 11-ball stay. 

Promoting Axar Patel at No.6 ahead of the more organised Dinesh Karthik in the second T20I versus South Africa is an Indian think-tank decision that has fallen under former Test cricketer Aakash Chopra's scrutiny. For Chopra, it was a tactical mistake by the hosts while they struggled to maximise 20 overs on a dry, tricky surface in Cuttack. 

Positioned 90/4 near the close of the 13th over, India decided to send Axar and keep their designated end-overs hitter Karthik at No.7 -  a position on the back of which in the IPL he has earned his re-entry into the T20I set-up. 

The idea was for Karthik to avoid his negative match-ups against South Africa's spin twins - Keshav Maharajaj and Tabraiz Shamsi - by placing Axar above him in the batting order. 

But while that worked out quite well, with Dinesh Karthik making an unbeaten 30 off 21 balls to take India to a competitive 148/6, Axar could only muster 10 off his 11-ball stay and left his promotion up for debate. 

Why India send Axar Patel above Dinesh Karthik? - Aakash Chopra

"The question is why did they send Axar before Dinesh? It is not very often that you get the chance to play more balls and if you don't go in such a case or you are not sent, I think it's a mistake," Chopra said over his YouTube channel. 

Deeming it a "mistake", the ex cricketer turned commentator backed the conventional logic of providing the team's more established batters more opportunities to bat in the middle. He said regardless of when the fourth wicket falls, India should sent out Dinesh Karthik above an underdeveloped hitter in Axar Patel. 

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"Dinesh Karthik, I love him as a finisher, once again he has finished strongly, but if more overs are left, will he not come to bat. If you are sending Axar ahead of him, you are doing wrong in my opinion," he added. 

Karthik, playing his first proper innings on India comeback after a brief 2-ball stay in Delhi, made a slow start to his innings. Given the situation, the batter focused on cutting down risks at the start before he picked up pace to his knock towards the end. 

Placed 8 off 14 at one point, Karthik gave the Indian innings a final flourish by smashing 3 fours and 2 sixes in the final two overs. Unfortunately for him, his innings couldn't help India post a series-levelling win, as they went 2-0 down in the five-match rubber against an in-form South African side.