Virat Kohli-led Team India will be looking to bounce back to winning ways when they take on New Zealand in their second game of the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup 2021 on Sunday (October 31). India suffered a massive ten-wicket defeat at the hands of arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening game last week and the game against New Zealand is a must-win for Kohli & Co. to keep their top-four hopes alive.
While the winner of the clash will be in a strong position to finish in the top two in Group 2, the loser might see his chances drop down dramatically. Ahead of the all-important game, former India batter and cricket expert VVS Laxman has suggested the Men in Blue drop senior pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar from the playing XI and replace him with Shardul Thakur.
Shardul had a brilliant season for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 where he picked up 21 wickets in 16 matches. He can also come in handy with the bat and provide more balance to the Indian line-up in against New Zealand. Bhuvneshwar, who has been struggling to find his rhythm for a while now, went wicket-less with the rest of the Indian bowlers against Pakistan and had conceded 25 runs in his quota of 3 overs.
“I would go for Shardul Thakur because Shardul can give runs with the bat, and he’s a wicket-taking option. It also increases the depth in the batting lineup. So, I would definitely go with Shardul ahead of Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar). He is an experienced bowler, but if you think about the balance and the combination of the playing eleven, I would probably prefer Shardul over Bhuvi,” Laxman said on Star Sports.
Also Read: Winless in 18 years! Can Virat Kohli-led India break the jinx against New Zealand in ICC events?
Though many have called for Shardul’s inclusion in the playing XI against New Zealand, India are reportedly unlikely to make any changes in their playing XI which took the field against Pakistan in the opener and are expected to back Bhuvneshwar against the Kiwis.
Indaia have not wona game against New Zealand in an ICC event since 2003 and will be hopefulof bringing an end to their losing streak on Sunday.
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