Veteran batter Robin Uthappa has suggested the Indian team management to use Deepak Hooda at No. 5 spot in the shortest format of the game.
Hooda has impressed one and all since his T20I debut earlier this year and many have been calling for the batting all-rounder to be included in the team. His ability to bowl a couple of overs also gives him an edge.
According to Uthappa, the No.5 spot is a toss-up between Rishabh Pant and Hooda. He batted for Hooda’s inclusion, saying that the 27-year-old is going through a good patch currently.
"I would say that No.5 position is between Rishabh and Hooda. The only thing is, Hooda is batting better at the moment and he can offer you something with the ball like he did against Afghanistan. It took him one ball to show he can contribute with the ball. Uska acha time chal raha hain (He is going through a good patch), you know, make the most of it," said Uthappa while speaking on Cricinfo's T20 Timeout.
He also pointed out Team India’s stunning record with Deepak Hooda featuring in the T20I playing XI.
"In the 18 matches that he has played for India, India has won 16 of them. He has only lost two games and those are the last two matches. Things are going in his favour right now and they should consider the fact that they're batting so well. And he is a middle order batter, so keep him in the middle order and at No.5 and at No. 6 and No. 7 you have Hardik and Dinesh and then you have the bowlers," said Uthappa.
During India’s Asia Cup 2022 campaign, Deepak Hooda played three games. While he scored 19 runs from the two innings he batted, he took a scalp in the only one match that he bowled.