The Indian fans were taken aback on Wednesday when the Indian think tank dropped Umran Malik to bring Shardul Thakur into the playing for the first ODI against New Zealand in Hyderabad. Though the all-rounder was a little expensive, he picked up a couple of wickets to help the Men in Blue to win the game by 12 runs and go 1-0 up in the series.
Ahead of the second encounter in Raipur, scheduled to be played on Saturday, bowling coach Paras Mhambrey addressed the media and explained why the decision was made. He said Shardul adds depth to the Indian batting line-up, adding that Umran remains very much in the scheme of things for the ODI World Cup at home this year.
Mhambrey said both Thakur and Malik add value to the team in different ways. “That (batting) is one of the reasons why we picked him (Thakur). He adds depth to the batting. We will have to see the surface and decide the combination accordingly. He has performed well for India,” Mhambrey said in the media interaction ahead of the second ODI.
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Many thought that benching Umran would keep the pacer out of India’s scheme of things for the 2023 World Cup. But Mhambrey said that’s not the case.
“The way he has progressed, it is very heartening to see. Pace does matter and adds a different dimension to the attack. The decision of playing him will depend on the surface and the requirement of the team combination.
“He is very much in the scheme of things as far as the world cup is concerned. He adds a lot of value to the team,” he added.
New Zealand were able to score 206 runs despite losing six wickets for 131 runs on Wednesday. The bowling coach said the team discussed the issue at length.
“When you score 350 on a surface like that you expect partnerships from the other side, they lost six quick wickets but you expect in a game like that, there will be a partnership, and they bat till 8. Santner is a handy batter as well,” Mhambrey said.
“What is important is you win games, you may be tested. We have charted out things we wanted to focus on and implement in this game. We are not looking at too much experimentation but we need to test players that we have shortlisted,” he added.
(With PTI Inputs)
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