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New Zealand vs India 2020: Harbhajan Singh suggests picking extra spinner in Indian XI in second ODI

Ashwan Rao
Modified 05 Feb 2020, 23:17 IST

Will Bhajji
Will Bhajji's suggestion help Team India to level the series?

What's the story?

Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has suggested a major change in the Indian XI for the second ODI which is set to be played at Auckland on February 8th (Saturday).

The background

Having outplayed the Kiwis during T20I series (won 5-0), the Men in Blue were expected to continue their dominance in the 50-over format as well. They did just that by posting a mammoth total on board after stand-in skipper Tom Latham opted to bowl first on winning the toss. Thanks to Shreyas Iyer's maiden ODI century and half-centuries from skipper Virat Kohli as well as wicket-keeper batsman KL Rahul, the visitors managed 347-4 in 50 overs.

But the bowlers failed to live up to the expectations at Seddon park as they were taken to the cleaners, especially Shadul Thakur (economy of 8.89) and Kuldeep Yadav (economy of 8.40) who proved costly. Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls and Tom Latham were the chief tormentors during the chase, helping the Blackcaps chase down the target in just 48.1 overs at the loss of six wickets. With this win, the 2015 and 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup runners-up who suffered a major setback in the just concluded T20I series have gained an upper-hand in the three-match ODI series.

The heart of the matter

Meanwhile, Harbhajan has come up with an important suggestion for Virat Kohli's men ahead of their must-win fixture at Eden Park. T

he 39-year-old felt that the New Zealand players are pretty comfortable in tackling the pace attack but might struggle if India deploys its wrist-spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in the XI. The Chennai Super Kings star who stressed the importance of playing an extra spinner further added that his CSK colleague and all-rounder Kedar Jadhav must be replaced by Chahal for the second ODI. Speaking to Star Sports Harbhajan said,

"I would like to see both spinners playing together - Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. This New Zealand team will play fast bowlers on any given day and they will take anyone on. But when it comes to playing spinners, it has always been a case for them. You can get those wickets in the middle overs. So I would like to see both the spinners play together. Maybe leave out Kedar Jadhav and play an extra spinner".

What's next?

With Shardul Thakur proving expensive, speedster Navdeep Saini will most probably replace the Mumbaikar at Eden Park. Despite losing the series openers against West Indies and Australia at home, Team India have managed to clinch the series during their last two ODI assignments. Hence, they will be determined to level the series at Auckland on saturday by making a strong comeback before heading to Mount Maunganui for the final fixture.

Yuzvendra Chahal.
Yuzvendra Chahal.
Published 05 Feb 2020, 23:17 IST
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