Cricket World Cup - "Pretty Clear On XI": Coach Rahul Dravid's Big Hint On Hardik Pandya's Replacement vs New Zealand
As the India vs New Zealand Cricket World Cup 2023 match in Dharamsala approaches on Sunday, the hosts are faced with a significant question: who will replace Hardik Pandya? The star all-rounder sustained an injury in India's previous match against Bangladesh, which means they will not be able to play against New Zealand.
Both teams have remained undefeated thus far, and the winner of this match will solidify its position at the top of the Cricket World Cup standings.
The absence of Hardik Pandya does indeed disrupt the balance of the Indian playing eleven. However, head coach Rahul Dravid provided some indications about the potential inclusion of Mohammed Shami and Suryakumar Yadav in the team for the World Cup game against New Zealand on Sunday, although he did not confirm the exact combination he prefers.
Pandya sustained a left ankle injury while bowling in the previous match against Bangladesh in Pune. He is currently being supervised by the BCCI medical team at the National Cricket Academy.
Clearly, Hardik is a crucial player for our team. Therefore, we need to adapt and determine the most effective combination we can form.
We need to assess and determine the most suitable approach for these conditions and wickets. Dravid was very practical in his thought process and acknowledged that the balance we had in the first four games might not be present in the upcoming games.
It was evident that Shami could become a factor when he referred to Shardul being considered as the fourth seamer in the team, with Pandya being given priority.
Dravid refrained from revealing the playing XI and potential replacement for Hardik, but he did suggest that apart from Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin could also be considered as an option.
It is clear that having three seamers is a good strategy, and including someone like Shami in this game is an excellent choice.
In certain situations, Ashwin, who has clearly been sitting out, possesses exceptional qualities. He added, "So, we have two or three combinations to consider until Hardik returns."
Dravid is someone who was not known for revealing even the simplest of open and shut team combinations, even when he was a captain.
He mentioned that all options are being considered, but it is possible to infer additional meaning from his words.
We have the option to choose either three fast bowlers or three spinners, depending on our preference. He suggested that with that particular combination, we could still play Ashwin and move Jadeja up.
There are numerous permutations and combinations available. I prefer not to reveal too much information. I am confident that we have a clear understanding of our starting lineup for tomorrow's match.
The coach also suggested that there is a close competition between Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan for the batting position. However, one statement made it clear that Suryakumar has a better chance, as they are specifically looking for a finisher.
Ishan is a nice addition to have. And as you correctly pointed out, he has been performing admirably. He is left-handed.If you are seeking someone with a higher position, perhaps we should consider Ishan.
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, and KL Rahul have already secured their positions in the team. This means that Kishan cannot be considered for the No. 6 slot. Dravid's statement supports this fact.
However, it is worth noting that Surya has displayed exceptional form against Australia, as we witnessed. I played a couple of fantastic innings. He is an incredibly skilled player when it comes to facing spin bowling. "Whether it's left arm spin, off spin, or any other type of spin, for that matter," Dravid said.
Surya is currently positioned at No. 6, which is typically Pandya's batting position.
Moreover, the role may be for a middle-level position. Therefore, we will need to carefully consider which candidate we want to select. We have a clear understanding of the specific roles that individuals can fulfil. If you are seeking a reliable individual to fulfil the role of an enforcer in the lower middle order, Surya is definitely a suitable candidate for the job.
Dravid provided sufficient hints indicating that Shardul Thakur might be excluded on Sunday.
Shardul's role as a bowling all-rounder was evident in the games he played.
In the games he played, we observed that he possesses a remarkable ability to consistently take wickets. Additionally, he effectively bowls during the middle overs, serving as a valuable fourth seam option for us on specific wickets that demand such an option.
Dravid emphasised that Thakur is putting in a lot of effort to improve his batting skills. However, it is clear that he is not yet prepared to be a reliable No.7 if Jadeja is moved up in the batting order.
It is evident that he has not had many opportunities to bat recently. Certainly, he has been diligently practising his batting skills in the nets. We have been putting in a lot of effort into it.
We have observed that he possesses the skill to hit impressive shots and execute well-played shots. "But certainly, that was the kind of role he fit in for us in that bowling all-rounders role," Dravid said.