Former India batter Ajay Jadeja has opined that Harshal Patel could play a crucial role at the 2022 T20 World Cup if he manages to maintain his current red-hot form. Harshal finished as the leading wicket-taker for India in the recently concluded three-match T20I series against West Indies.
Ajay Jadeja, a veteran of 15 Tests and 196 ODIs for India, applauded Harshal Patel for his impressive outing in the recently concluded T20I series against West Indies, where the latter snared five scalps at an economy rate of 8.75 to help India complete the sweep by 3-0. Jadeja then claimed that Harshal is next only to Jasprit Bumrah when it comes to picking bowlers for the 2022 T20 World Cup, to be held in Australia between October 16 and November 13.
While discussing Harshal’s performance at Cricbuzz, Jadeja said, “The T20 World Cup is a long way away but he is definitely a tick for the World Cup at this stage. If you expose him more, he might be less effective. But Australia grounds are huge, where he would be very useful. At this moment, if the Indian team had to be picked, you'd probably write his name alongside Bumrah.
“The more you play Harshal, people will get used to something. They keep watching you and the pattern of your bowling - when do you bowl slower ones and yorkers.”
Jadeja further explained how Harshal had played a key role in the West Indies T20I series, particularly in Bumrah’s absence when bowling second.
“West Indies were moving along (in the chase on Sunday) but Harshal Patel slowed them down. Every time his over came, the target seemed to go away a little bit. And then West Indies would try and catch up - four overs for 22 for a guy who bowls mostly at the end.
“I think Harshal Patel is probably playing the key role at the moment when we are defending. It is almost like what Jasprit Bumrah was doing. But with Bumrah it’s many things. What surprises me is that with Harshal Patel it’s just that slower one and people still have no clue what to do with it."
Dinesh Karthik, India’s wicket-keeper batter, also supported Jadeja’s views on Harshal and said that “From the time he has come into the Indian team, he has done everything right.”
“Rohit has used him (Harshal) brilliantly as well, bringing him in those crucial overs once the field spreads. Every time he feels like he needs a wicket, he brings him on, which is very clever,” Karthik concluded.