Former pacer Zaheer Khan reckons that Team India might bring in rookie fast bowler Umran Malik for the third T20I against South Africa on Tuesday (June 14) in an endeavor to add some X-factor to their bowling line-up.
Having lost the first two matches of the series, the hosts face a must-win situation in the third game in Vizag to stay alive. On Sunday, South Africa defeated India by four wickets in Cuttack. Chasing a below par 149, they got home courtesy Heinrich Klaasen’s blazing 46-ball 81.
Zaheer believes Team India must look to add some zing to their bowling line-up for the next game. In a discussion on Cricbuzz, he opined:
“Inclination might be towards Umran for the next match. Extra pace can be handy. We have seen that in the IPL. We have seen Umran get (David) Miller out as well on one occasion with the ball, coming around the wicket and bowling really fast. That’s something which can be a good match-up. You can go for runs as well, but you need to have that X-factor, something different which will, maybe, have that impact.”
The former left-arm pacer explained that the small ground in Vizag is another reason why India must go for an extra pacer instead of two spinners. Zaheer added:
“A tweak in personnel is going to be required. Maybe due to the small ground, the spinners might be under pressure. We might see a quick bowler coming in. I am expecting that one change purely because the ground is small.”
Apart from Umran, Team India also have young left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh in their squad, who has impressed for the Punjab Kings in the last two IPL seasons.
“You want to get into a habit of winning games” - Zaheer Khan on Team India’s T20 World Cup preparations
Reflecting on India’s two losses against South Africa, Zaheer said that the hosts must develop a habit of winning, irrespective of who is playing, considering the T20 World Cup in mind. He explained:
“When you are talking about the big World Cup, you want to get into a habit of winning games, no matter who is taking the field. The key players are not part of the series, but you still have a brand of cricket that you have been playing. As a culture in the team, it is very important to protect that. Winning all the remaining games is a good challenge, but it’s not going to be easy.”
After the third T20I in Vizag, the remaining two matches of the series will be played in Rajkot (June 17) and Bengaluru (June 19).