Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant players India have to invest heavily on – Sanjay Manjrekar

Mumbai: Speaking exclusively at Star Sports Press Room – T20 World Cup Edition, former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar shared his ideal playing XI, said, “Three seamers: Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Siraj. Two spinners: Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav. Hardik Pandya will be the sixth bowler. I would start with Rishabh Pant as the wicketkeeper-batter. When you look at the batting order, you can see how it pans out. Opening pair: Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli. Unfortunately, there’s no place for Yashasvi Jaiswal because Virat will not bat at number three; that’s a reality we have embraced. I would have loved to have Jaiswal if there were no Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, and we could go with a young opening pair. But that’s not going to happen, so Jaiswal has to sit out. At number three, you could have Suryakumar Yadav and then Rishabh Pant. I want Pant to get into those India colours very early in the tournament because he is a big-match player. India’s problem in ICC events has been winning the semis or finals, and they need their big-match players to be feeling good. We know enough about Rishabh Pant; he’s a big stage, big pressure, big player. Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant are the players India have to invest heavily in. That’s how I would go.”

Speaking exclusively at the Star Sports Press Room, T20 World Cup Edition former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar discussed India’s struggle with the lack of all-rounders in the squad, said, “Lack of all-rounders is a bit of a weakness for Team India. If you look at Australia, their batters like Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, and Cameron Green can bowl four overs in a match. I think that’s why the Indian team has brought Shivam Dube into the side to mitigate the limitations that come with a lack of all-rounders. Yes, it’s a small weakness, and now with the impact substitute rule in the IPL, this problem might increase. We currently rely on specialist bowlers and batters, but in this World Cup, the team will need to make some adjustments, and someone will have to bowl at least two to three overs in a match.”

Speaking exclusively at the Star Sports Press Room, T20 World Cup Edition former Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan discussed who could be India’s all-rounder option for the World Cup squad, said, “With the selected team, there can be two combinations. In one combination, you can play with six bowlers, including Axar Patel, to deepen the batting lineup. In the other combination, you can play with four front-line bowlers and expect Shivam Dube and Hardik Pandya to bowl. Another option for Team India is a young player who bowls in the nets but hasn’t bowled in matches, Yashasvi Jaiswal. Shivam Dube also mentioned during the IPL that he has been regularly bowling in the nets, preparing to bowl one or two overs in the World Cup. If Hardik can give you the option of bowling three to four overs, this problem will be largely solved. Our other batsmen, like Rohit, Virat, or Suryakumar Yadav, can’t bowl, which makes us somewhat handicapped. Ideally, if any of these players could bowl, it would greatly benefit the team. We talk about Australia, but even England has many all-rounders among their top seven players, including Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, and Will Jacks. It’s always better to have more bowling options, and yes, in this scenario, we are definitely handicapped.”

Speaking exclusively at Star Sports Press Room – T20 World Cup Edition, former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar on whether Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma be the right combination as opening pair instead of Yashasvi Jaiswal, said, “Ideally, I would not have gone that way. I would have stuck with a slightly younger core set of players. But the selectors have committed themselves to the icons, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. Now that they are in the squad, it is impossible to have Virat Kohli batting at number 3, because then you don’t get the full value of Virat. And Rohit Sharma, as well, has to open. So, India, in a way, have forced themselves to have only one kind of combination, two right-handers. Unfortunately, Jaiswal will have to sit out. I would have gone completely with a new lot; then, you would have had a lot more flair and it would be something different. India have trusted the seniors, a move that hasn’t worked over the years. Let’s hope it works this time.”

Speaking exclusively at Star Sports Press Room – T20 World Cup Edition, former Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan shared his thoughts on the importance of having a right and left-handed opening pair, and why he would choose Yashasvi Jaiswal over Virat Kohli, said, “I would like to have a left-hander for sure, opening the innings with Yashasvi Jaiswal. If Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli open the innings, a left-arm spinner will come in straight away, and you need to counter that. Without a left-hand batter, you will struggle, especially in a big game. I understand what Sanjay Bhai is saying; many experts want Virat Kohli to open because of what he provides as an opener and his recent improvement in strike rate, playing with the extra risk needed in T20 cricket. But if Virat bats at number 3, it opens the slot for Jaiswal. A right-hand, left-hand combination is crucial, especially when the ball is moving or spinning. Most teams have left-arm spinners who can take the ball away from right-handers. This is why you need a left-hander at the top of the order.”


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