Ajit Agarkar is of the opinion that Suryakumar Yadav should play against Afghanistan in the Super 12s clash of the T20 World Cup 2021 on Wednesday. Agarkar also called for Rohit Sharma be slotted back as an opener, and backed Hardik Pandya to play given that he bowled against New Zealand on Sunday.
India had a poor start to their T20 World Cup 2021 campaign, with heavy defeats to Pakistan and New Zealand respectively. It has dented their semi-final hopes significantly, and they face Afghanistan in a must-win game in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
India's tactics against New Zealand came under severe criticism, after Ishan Kishan, who had replaced an unfit Suryakumar Yadav, was sent in to open ahead of Rohit Sharma. The move backfired, with India being reduced to 48/4, before being eventually limited to 110/7.
Ahead of the Afghanistan clash, Ajit Agarkar called for Yadav's return if fit, and for the team to restore their first choice opening combination of KL Rahul and Rohit.
“Suryakumar Yadav if he is fit, comes in for me Rohit goes to open the innings," Agarkar said during a chat with ESPNCricinfo. "Pandya’s form is certainly a concern, but if you’ve backed him for 2 games, then you don’t want to tinker too much. He also bowled a couple of overs in the last game, so that helps. India would just look to bat better. Change in venue, I don’t know about that but a change of mindset definitely would."
Rashid Khan, Afghanistan's premier match-winner, recently became the fastest bowler to 100 T20I wickets. Agarkar identified Rashid as a major challenge for India batsmen, and said that he should be played as per the game situation.
“You have to look at the situation. Very few batsmen successfully manage to attack Rashid Khan. If you are getting enough runs against the rest of the bowling attack, no need to take unnecessary risks against Rashid,” said Agarkar.