"Unko bahar bithaiye": Harbhajan Singh proposes India's best combination for NZ clash
Former Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh has proposed two adjustments for India's upcoming 2023 ODI World Cup match against New Zealand at Dharamshala on October 22 (Sunday). The initial alteration entails substituting off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin with fast bowler Mohammed Shami, given the conducive swing-friendly conditions in Dharamsala. The second recommendation involves considering either Ishan Kishan or Suryakumar Yadav for the number six position, with Suryakumar being the preferred choice.
Singh underscored the challenge of filling in for Hardik Pandya, who has been a pivotal figure in India's lineup as an all-rounder. With Hardik sidelined due to injury, India must reevaluate their approach for the forthcoming match. Hardik sustained an ankle sprain during a game against Bangladesh, rendering him unavailable for the New Zealand match.
Fortunately, scans indicated no significant damage, and the Indian team management anticipates his return for the match against England.
Harbhajan Singh gives reason for his choice
Harbhajan Singh said, "Unko bahar bithaiye, pick Shami and either Kishan or SK'"
"It's a big issue for India if Hardik Pandya is not fit. He sets our combination and if he doesn't play then you will have to change it. You can either play Ishan Kishan or Suryakumar Yadav as a pure batter. We are playing Shardul Thakur because of his all-rounder abilities. I think you should bring Mohammed Shami in his place as he can give you solid 10 overs," Harbhajan told Aaj Tak.
Singh's suggestions are rooted in the distinctive conditions of Dharamsala, which favor seam bowling. The inclusion of a fast bowler like Shami fortifies India's bowling arsenal. Suryakumar Yadav, renowned for his proficiency in finishing could bolster the batting lineup. This encounter with New Zealand is anticipated to be a formidable challenge for India as both teams have exhibited strong performances in the tournament.
Consequently, India must adapt to Hardik's absence by implementing strategic alterations in their playing XI, in accordance with Harbhajan Singh's counsel, to sustain their competitive edge.