Zaheer Khan weighed in on India’s possible changes for the third ODI and opined that he could see the team make two changes - Kuldeep Yadav for Yuzvendra Chahal and Shardul Thakur for Navdeep Saini. Zaheer, however, hoped for the team to stick with Iyer, who he believes is one for the future.
On the back of two pastings, the Indian side, led by Virat Kohli, will be hoping to avoid a whitewash at the hands of the Kangaroos in the third and final ODI in Canberra on Wednesday. While the Men in Blue have not fired as a unit, the architect of their downfall has been their bowling, which has not given the batsmen an iota of chance to salvage matches, having conceded a whopping 763 runs across two matches.
With the series done and dusted, there have been cries from the general public pleading Kohli & Co. to make an abundance of changes in the final ODI, but legendary Indian seamer Zaheer Khan weighed in on the issue and claimed that he would make no more than two changes - Kuldeep Yadav for Yuzvendra Chahal and Shardul Thakur for Navdeep Saini. Both Chahal and Saini have been an aberration thus far, having averaged a 150 across two matches.
“They can maybe look at Kuldeep. Give him a run and see how he goes about it. Another spot which they might think of is Saini. Maybe Shardul Thakur will come in place of Saini. These are the two replacements I’m seeing,” Zaheer said on Cricbuzz LIVE.
With the likes of Sanju Samson, Manish Pandey, and Shubman Gill waiting in the wings, there have also been cries for the management to drop the under-fire Shreyas Iyer, but Zaheer ran to the support of his fellow Mumbaikar. The former pacer termed Iyer, who has struggled against short deliveries, as a player for the future, and claimed that going through tough times will help the youngster evolve as a cricketer.
“Third one is Shreyas Iyer, but I wouldn’t want to take that route. Looking at the conditions of the World Cup, he is someone who will definitely be around, so I think he is someone who, if he faces these kind of tough challenges, can evolve as a player,” Zaheer said.
While India would need to make tactical changes, the Aussies will also have no option but to make a forced change, with David Warner picking up an injury in the 2nd ODI. Warner’s absence means that there is a slot there to be taken up top, and speaking in the same show, former English skipper Michael Vaughan hoped for the Aussies to open with Alex Carey and hand a debut to young Cameron Green. Vaughan noted that Carey is someone with prior experience opening the batting, and added that an x-factor player like Green would add more firepower and versatility to an already-strong Australian side.
“I would think that Alex Carey will probably open the batting. That maybe will allow Cameron Green to come into the middle order and give them an extra bowling option. When you’re 2-0 up in the series, why wouldn’t you use an opportunity to blood a young player like Green, who is thought of so highly,” Vaughan said.
“Carey opens in the BBL for Adelaide and has done it before for Australia, so I think Carey will go to the top. And I personally will bring in Green into the middle order. It gives them a bit more firepower as he can crash the ball out of the park as well.”