After Team India’s 7-wicket defeat in the first ODI against New Zealand at Eden Park, many former cricketers and pundits have been arguing that the Men in Blue lacked a bowler, as the five bowlers failed to defend the 307-run target on Friday (November 25).
India went with Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik, Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, and Yuzvendra Chahal in the opening match of the three-match ODI series against New Zealand. However, they were all brutally hammered by Kane Williamson (94*) and Tom Latham (145*) to successfully chase the target of 307 runs at the expense of just three wickets against India in Auckland.
Well, reacting to the notions, Saba Karim questioned the team selection and said that he didn’t understand why they picked up an extra batter, as he felt Deepak Hooda could have made the difference as an all-rounder. Notably, Hooda had taken four wickets in the second T20I against the Black Caps.
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Saba Karim told India News: “India didn’t have many options, given that there was no sixth bowler. That made things more difficult. The first thing the team management has to do is identify a sixth bowling option. We have consistently gone with five bowlers in white-ball cricket. I simply cannot understand this strategy.”
He added, “Instead of playing an extra batter, why didn’t India play Deepak Hooda? We have to make bold decisions in terms of team selection. The selectors have packed the side with a lot of batters. But where are the all-rounders? If Hardik Pandya isn’t playing, where is another all-rounder to replace him?”
Sundar and Chahal failed to pick up a single wicket in the match as Williamson and Latham went berserk at the spinners, and Karim said the Men in Blue must prepare their bowlers for such batters.
He signed off by saying, “We have seen this for many years: a player who can play the sweep and the reverse sweep well has always troubled the Indian bowlers. Why don’t we prepare well for such batters? There has to be a change in pace, or maybe we can set the field accordingly to win that battle. We have to find a way. Otherwise, we will continue to struggle against these batters.”