Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt reckons that the time has come for Team India to put their experiments on the back burner and field a “proper XI” against Sri Lanka in their Asia Cup 2022 Super 4 match on Tuesday, September 6.
The Men in Blue made some strange selection moves against Pakistan on Sunday (September 4) and had to face a lot of backlash after the result did not go their way. India went with two leg-spinners in Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravi Bishnoi even though Pakistan had three left-handers in their ranks.
Following their five-wicket loss to Pakistan, Team India face a must-win situation against Sri Lanka to stay in contention for a place in the Asia Cup final. Previewing the game on his YouTube channel, Butt commented:
“Sri Lanka will go into the game against India having won two matches under pressure. They will carry that momentum, so it won’t be easy for India to stop them. India will have to put up a really good show and, for once, they need to cut the experiment part and play a proper XI.
"They must have one leg-spinner and one off-spinner as well because Sri Lanka also have three to four left-handers, who are attacking players.”
Backing experienced off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s selection for Tuesday’s match, Butt stated:
“Ashwin must play. He is a capable batter as well, can bowl at the start and has the carrom ball too. He has a lot to offer. India need to go with their best options. Remember, if they lose to Sri Lanka, they will be out of the Asia Cup.”
Ashwin was part of India’s T20I squad for the tour of the West Indies. He did a reasonable job, claiming three wickets in three matches at an average of 26.67.
“They have been trying to introduce the English brand” - Salman Butt on India’s aggression
Following a disappointing T20 World Cup campaign last year, Team India have clearly decided to adopt a more aggressive approach to batting.
However, according to Butt, India are going overboard in trying to replicate England's template, which isn’t quite working for them. He elaborated:
“India’s success in recent years has been because they played the Indian brand of cricket. Lately, they have been trying to introduce the English brand. Some people call it selfless cricket or fearless cricket. But how can you judge a batter by his strike rate? Even if he gets out for eight off two, his strike rate will be 400, but his average might be eight.”
India got off to a blazing start against Pakistan, reaching 54 for no loss in five overs. However, they stumbled to 131 for five and ended up posting 181 for seven, a total they failed to defend.