Former Indian keeper-batter Parthiv Patel has stated that he was not too surprised with Punjab Kings’ (PBKS) decision to replace an in-form Bhanuka Rajapaksa with Jonny Bairstow once the latter was available for selection in IPL 2022. He, however, admitted that since the England star is not performing to expectations, Punjab can think of going back to Rajapaksa.
Bairstow has managed only 41 runs in four IPL matches for PBKS at a strike rate of 105.13. During his absence, Rajapaksa hammered 83 runs in three games at a strike rate of 230.56.
During a discussion on Cricbuzz, Patel said that Punjab’s decision to play Bairstow ahead of Rajapaksa was understandable since he was the first-choice player between the two. He did concede, though, that the thought process needs to change if the big names are not performing. Patel said:
“When a team sits to pick their XI, they select players who have been paid higher sums as first priority for obvious reasons. They are expected to do a better job. But if such players are not performing, you need to look at others. Bairstow took Rajapaksa’s place on that basis. Yes, the latter did well, but his performances weren’t exceptional to keep out the English cricketer. Rajapaksa did a good job to fill in the void in the first few games. But now that Bairstow hasn't been performing, PBKS can definitely think of going back to Rajapaksa.”
Punjab have struggled in the batting department in their last two IPL 2022 matches. They were all-out for 151 against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and 115 against the Delhi Capitals (DC).
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“Big question is how long PBKS will wait for Bairstow to hit form” - Parthiv Patel
Continuing the debate on Bairstow, Patel admitted that it won’t be an easy decision for Punjab to drop him since he was picked at the IPL auction as one of the key overseas players. The 37-year-old opined:
“The big question is how long PBKS will wait for Bairstow to hit form. Remember, he came in for Rajapaksa who was in very good form. That apart, the team is settled and they have the big-name players but somehow (they are not able to perform).”
After a good start to IPL 2022, PBKS have slipped to eighth position in the IPL points table, having lost three of their last four matches. According to the IPL 2022 schedule, they will next take on the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.
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