"Even if he plays, it will not be in the place of Shardul Thakur" - Wasim Jaffer on Umran Malik's inclusion for the 2nd ODI

Indian batter Wasim Jaffer

Former Indian batter Wasim Jaffer stressed the importance of Shardul Thakur's presence in the playing XI to strengthen the batting depth of the side.

The inclusion of the entire pace trio of Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj, and Umran Malik, albeit successful, has severely hampered the depth of batting in the playing XI.


Malik, who had to make way for Thakur in the first ODI against New Zealand, has had a good home season so far, claiming wickets on a regular basis in the middle overs with his sheer pace, despite going for excess runs at times.


Thakur and Hardik Pandya shared the role of third seamer in the first ODI against the Blackcaps in Hyderabad. The Mumbai all-rounder made a terrific start to his spell, claiming the wicket of Finn Allen, but was on the receiving end of Michael Bracewell's incredible hitting. He bowled the decisive final over, ending with figures of 2-54 off 7.2 overs.


Team India have often tried out various combinations to bring out the balance in the side. They played with five proper bowlers in the series against Sri Lanka, but have reverted to the inclusion of bowling all-rounders in the playing XI. The incredible hundred from Michael Bracewell was the perfect example of what batting depth offers.

Wasim Jaffer opined that India need to incorporate a way to include as many all-rounders as possible, even suggesting the combination of Axar Patel and Ravindra Jadeja in the same playing XI when available. He said:


The second ODI between India and New Zealand will be played at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Cricket Stadium in Raipur on Saturday, January 21. This marks the first international contest that the venue will play host to.

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