Gautam Gambhir has stated that there is no point in India batting all-rounder Hardik Pandya at No.7, instead, he added that India should play another bowling all-rounder, which solves the issue. Gambhir also showed his support for opener KL Rahul, adding that dropping him isn’t a solution.
Both sides have had their own set of problems - for India, finding the right batting order and balance has become a grave issue while for England, Dawid Malan’s form has left them with a lot of choices and decisions. However, going into the fourth T20I, India would stand more in trouble than the visitors, especially with just five bowling options in the playing XI.
Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir stated that batting Hardik Pandya at No.7 is nonsensical and will only make him look like a No.7 batsman. Alongside that, the former KKR skipper also stressed that India are one bowler short, which will be a grave problem against a strong side like England or West Indies.
“I don’t understand, Axar Patel can bat, Washi can bat and Shardul Thakur can bat. Look at how England goes, six batsmen are enough in T20s, Washington can easily bat at No.7. There’s no point keeping Hardik Pandya as the No.7 batsman, that will only make him look like a No.7 batsman,” Gambhir told ESPNCricinfo.
“In the first game, the combination was right but you have to go against a quality side with six bowling options. Teams like England and West Indies would easily go past the target if it is 160-170 very easily,” he added.
Meanwhile, former England batsman Ian Bell called Mark Wood as a ‘difference-maker in the series thus far. He also added that his overs in the middle-overs help England to curtail the run-scoring, leading to the batsmen taking risks against him.
“Mark Wood has made a difference in the series, certainly. He’s made the English bowling attack more aggressive, gives a lot of wicket-taking options for Morgan and gets hard to hold off. I think England will be praying that he will pull up and be fully fit for the World T20 in October. I know that Archer and Wood in this form are just outstanding.”
On the issue of KL Rahul’s stagnant form, with scores of 0,0,1 in his last three games, Gambhir showed his support for the Karnataka opener. Gambhir also stressed that dropping him would only make his confidence worse and added that he wouldn’t play Shreyas Iyer at No.6, like Pandya at No.7.
“No this is not the right time to drop KL Rahul, you got to give him two more opportunities. Yes, he is not in form but if you drop him, you are not going to make his confidence any good. If anything, I wouldn’t play Shreyas Iyer at No.6. If you don’t pick him at 4, you wouldn’t play him at No.6, I would rather have Hardik Pandya there. Dropping Rahul isn’t good for the time, neither is for the player.”