One of the notable absentees from India’s playing XI for the opening match of the three-match T20I series against New Zealand in Jaipur on Wednesday was Yuzvendra Chahal. The leg-spinner was called back after the T20 World Cup snub but benched for the first game, while Rahul Chahar who replaced him for the tournament was dropped.
And while veteran Indian cricketer Robin Uthappa feels that Chahal rightfully deserves a chance in the XI for the second T20I in Ranchi, he admitted it would be unfair for Axar Patel to sit out after just one game.
A poor first leg of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL), where Chahal picked only four wickets in seven games at an economy rate of 8.26, saw the leg-spinner fall out of contention for the T20 World Cup.
However, he bounced impressively to pick 14 wickets in eight matches in the UAE leg of the tournament, at an economy rate of 7.06. And while the selectors had October 10 as the deadline for making changes in the T20 World Cup squad, there weren’t any major changes made.
Given his form in the IPL, Uthappa feels that Chahal should be picked for the Ranchi game against the Tim Southee-led side; however, he feels that benching Axar wouldn’t be a wise call either.
“Yes, he deserves a chance with the form that he is in. But having said that, it would be unfair on someone like Axar Patel to miss out on a game. So I guess, Axar will play one more game before Yuzi gets an opportunity. Yes but he will stick around in the side and we will see him play a lot more cricket in the future,” Uthappa said on ESPNCricinfo.
Axar went wicketless in the opener, but conceded at 7.80 in his four overs getting hit for three boundaries. Former New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori however feels that Chahal compliments India’s T20I philosophy and hence could be a good option for the second game.
“Yes, he compliments everything India try to do in a T20I game and Rohit should use him as an attacking weapon. I think it will be a really good option for India,” he said.
India won the opener by five wickets against New Zealand and will now be aiming to seal the series in Ranchi.