After India’s humiliating defeat against Pakistan, Virat Kohli will have to make changes in the playing XI ahead of the clash against New Zealand. The crushing 10-wicket defeat also revealed the cracks in Team India that Virat Kohli must address when they take on New Zealand on Sunday. From Shardul Thakur to Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishan Kishan, the Playing XI will need to undergo at least three changes.
1. Shardul Thakur in place of Hardik Pandya: India is in dire need of a 6th bowler in the playing XI and there is no better option than Shardul Thakur over Hardik Pandya. During India vs Pakistan T20 World Cup clash on Sunday, many were surprised by the exclusion of Shardul Thakur as Virat Kohli went for Hardik Pandya. Pandya is not in form as he was before and also cannot bowl.
Shardul Thakur was added to the main T20 World Cup squad by replacing Axar Patel because he is considered an all-rounder. Thakur has the ability to pick up wickets in crunch situations and can turn around the game for the team. His batting abilities were on display in England. Since Hardik Pandya cannot bowl and seems to be unfit, Virat Kohli must take a call and go Shardul Thakur to have a balance in the Playing XI against the match against New Zealand.
2. Ishan Kishan for Suryakumar Yadav: Surakumar Yadav came in as a flexible option who could bat at many positions. His omission in the match against Pakistan raised many questions. But he is not in great form and lacked confidence in a pressure situation, whereas Ishan Kishan has the ability to perform better in any given situation and does it with great confidence, which is visible in his batting.
Ishan Kishan is in far better form as compared to Suryakumar Yadav and can play well even if he is under pressure. The other advantage would be that he is a left-hander and India will be needing one desperately to counter the threat of left-arm pacer in Trent Boult. India’s top 3 struggled against Shaheen Afridi and Virat Kohli would be eager to have a left-hander in the top 3.
3. Ravichandran Ashwin for Varun Chakravarthy: One of the criticisms Kohli faced was picking up Varun Chakravarthy over experienced spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in a tough match against Pakistan. Ashwin is considered as one of the best spinners but was excluded in a crucial match on Sunday. Against New Zealand, he could be an asset especially on a pitch like Dubai.
Ravichandran Ashwin is far more experienced international bowler as compared to Varun Chakravarthy. Ashwin has the ability to handle pressure in a crunch situation and would’ve had some advantage to India against Pakistan.