Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh believes that captain Rohit Sharma will have to make two changes to fill the gap left by injured Hardik Pandya in team’s next ODI World Cup match against New Zealand and he wants to see Suryakumar Yadav and Mohammed Shami in the playing XI in Dharamshala.
In a massive blow for India, Hardik has been ruled out of the team’s clash with New Zealand on Sunday due to an ankle injury, which he sustained in the seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh.
The star all-rounder, who sustained an injury to his left ankle while fielding on his own bowling at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Thursday, was forced to go out from the field and took no further part in the game after being sent to hospital for scans.
The 30-year-old Pandya, has been advised to rest, will now join the team directly in Lucknow where India play England on October 29.
According to Bhajji, Dharamsala has more swing than any other venue in this World Cup, so it will be wiser to opt for a seamer like Shami, rather than going for a spinner in Ravichandran Ashwin.
“It’s a big issue for India if Hardik Pandya is not fit. He sets our combination and if he doesn’t play then you will have to change it. You can either play Ishan Kishan or Suryakumar Yadav as a pure batter. We are playing Shardul Thakur because of his all-rounder abilities. I think you should bring Mohammed Shami in his place as he can give you a solid 10 overs,” Harbhajan told a news channel.
Notably, Pandya has been a key part of India’s bowling attack while taking five wickets in their opening three matches of the ongoing World Cup so far. The right-hander batter is also a damaging middle-order batter but has only been called on once so far in the tournament for 11 not out against Australia.
India and New Zealand are the only undefeated teams left in the tournament as both sides have registered four comprehensive victories.Their clash in Dharamsala looms as one of the most anticipated matches of the group stage as both teams eye top spot in the Cricket World Cup Standings.