Batting great Sunil Gavaskar believes that medium pacer Harshal Patel can be the trump card for skipper Rohit Sharma in the upcoming T20 World Cup. After years of struggle, Harshal managed to get a place in India’s squad last year after a breakthrough IPL 2021 where he won the Purple Cap for claiming 32 scalps. He made his debut against New Zealand last year and since then he has managed to cement his place in India’s T20 squad. He has picked 18 wickets in 13 T20Is.
Harshal was also the leading wicket-taker in the recently concluded T20I series against South Africa.
Team India is still auditioning the players for the T20 World Cup and Harshal has been a standout performer with the ball for them in absence of senior players like Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
Gavaskar feels a bowler like Harshal gives an edge to the skipper as he can be used both in powerplay and slog overs with his smart variations.
“He will be one of the trumps cards because you have Bhuvneshwar, Shami and Bumrah as well. Brilliant for a skipper to have someone like him to depend on, He can come in and bowl may be even in the powerplay where people are now going with change of pace. So yes he certainly should be part of the group,” he said.
In IPL 2022, Harshal was one of the best bowlers in the death overs throughout the tournament. He picked 19 wickets at an economy rate of 7.66.
Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith also backed Harshal to get a place in India’s T20 WC squad and said he is a big asset to the team with his calm temperament under pressure.
“He has been excellent. Nobody skills in the death overs with the slower balls…but I feel from game 3 he found his right length and picked up wickets and kept the pressure on the South Africans. He has all the skills as an all-rounder bowler and is a big asset to the team and handles pressure very well and is a clear thinker under pressure,” he said.