Former opening batter Wasim Jaffer believes Team India needs to include Arshdeep Singh in the playing XI for the first T20I against South Africa. The Men in Blue have been hit with a death-over bowling crisis over the last few matches and are on the lookout to mend it ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup 2022.
Arshdeep Singh was not part of the recently concluded T20I series against Australia.
While he makes a return to the squad, fellow pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar will miss out and has been asked to report to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) for rehabilitation.
Opining that Arshdeep Singh's presence will ease the pressure on the struggling Harshal Patel, Wasim Jaffer said on ESPN Cricinfo:
"I prefer Arshdeep Singh in the playing XI because death bowling has been a worry as of late. With Arshdeep's inclusion, the pressure on Harshal Patel might be a little less, that's why I would prefer Arshdeep over Deepak Chahar."
The bowling combination has become trickier with India likely to be devoid of all-rounders like Hardik Pandya and Deepak Hooda for the series. The Men in Blue have stuck with a six-bowler combination since the return of Hardik Pandya and have achieved success with the formula, especially with the pace bowling all-rounder functioning at full capacity.
Predicting India will have a tough time without Pandya serving as the sixth bowling option, Jaffer said:
"The absence of Hardik Pandya hampers the team's balance, especially that sixth bowling option. India will have a problem with the sixth bowling option in this series, because most likely the option will be Virat Kohli since Deepak Hooda is not there as well. I do not see any other options."
Much like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the all-rounder will report to the NCA for some rehabilitation work before departing for Australia next month.
"I don't think it will be easy to win the series against them" - Wasim Jaffer on Team India's chances against South Africa
The upcoming three games against the visiting Proteas side are the last set of T20 international matches for India prior to the World Cup. The Men in Blue are scheduled to play a couple of warm-up games against Australia and New Zealand as well.
Noting that South Africa will be a tough nut to crack in the series, Jaffer said:
"India cannot afford the approach of playing with six bowlers and five batters. So it will be a little challenging for Rohit Sharma. South Africa, on the other hand, have plenty of options. I don't think it will be easy to win the series against them. India have to be at the top of their game."
Rohit Sharma's side will take on South Africa in the first T20I of the series at the Greenfield Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, September 28.
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