Brisbane: India have more or less finalised 10 players for their T20 World Cup opener against Pakistan. For the 11th spot, however there are two contenders – the experienced Ravichandran Ashwin and the better all-round cricketer Axar Patel.
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Kartik, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Yuzvendra Chahal are certainties for the game against Pakistan. India are debating between Ashwin and Patel simply because Pakistan have a number of left-handed batters in Mohammad Nawaz, Khushdil Shah and Fakhar Zaman – all of whom can take the attack to Patel who is a left-arm spinner.
Skipper Rohit and head coach Rahul Dravid are thus keeping Ashwin in the equation simply because his stock delivery is the one that goes away from the left-handers and so it creates difficulty in hitting against the turn.
However, at the same time, the Indian think-tank cannot ignore Patel as he is a better fielder than Ashwin. Also as a left-handed batter, he brings variety into the batting lower down the order. Patel is a natural six-hitter and that is he may just get the nod ahead of Ashwin. The fight between experience (Ashwin) and youth (Patel) has certainly causing headaches to the Indian team management.
Sources said that Harshal Patel will have to sit out of the game simply because he has not been able to do much with his variations in the last few games. Many feel that his pace will be an ideal fodder for the opposition batters on bouncy Australian pitches where the ball tends to sit up nicely.