Former Indian spinner and head coach Anil Kumble feels it would be unfair to drop either Ravichandran Ashwin or Axar Patel for the Men in Blue's upcoming T20 World Cup 2022 clash against the Netherlands.
Lead spinner Yuzvendra Chahal could be in contention following a change in venue and opposition. Skipper Rohit Sharma also hinted at the start of the tournament that they will not shy away from making changes to the playing XI on a consistent basis.
The finger-spinner duo bowled a combined total of four overs in India's opening contest against Pakistan on Sunday, October 23. They did not make much of an impact at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), conceding 44 runs with no wickets in return. However, things can be different in Sydney, which is often touted as Australia's most spin-friendly surface.
Opining that he does not see Team India altering their winning combination, Kumble said on ESPN Cricinfo:
"I don't want to say that was horses for courses, but I don't see any change happening for the Netherlands contest in Sydney. I don't think it is fair on Ashwin or Axar, if at all you are looking to make a change that perhaps could be bringing in Chahal for one of them."
"But I don't see that happening unless there is an injury or niggle, then there could be a forced change."
Chahal, who is India's leading wicket-taker in T20Is, is yet to play a T20 World Cup match. After being snubbed from the squad for the previous edition, he cemented his place in the ongoing edition, but failed to make it to the playing XI for the Pakistan clash.
Opining that the leg-spinner might be an attacking option in the middle overs, former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming said during the same interaction:
"Chahal with his variations might produce more wicket-taking options than the finger-spinners, although it would be a little unfair on the two spinners that played the last game. But, Chahal has such a good record and against teams that has not been exposed, so he might be an option."
Chahal has played two T20Is at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) over the course of his career. In the eight overs he has bowled at the venue, he has conceded 92 runs with one wicket in return.
It is highly unlikely that Team India will play three spinners in their upcoming encounter.
"In terms of the death bowling, I would go with Arshdeep to bowl atleast two overs" - Anil Kumble
Team India's death bowling woes continued to haunt them as they conceded 54 runs in the last five overs against Pakistan.
Even with the majority of the big-hitting batters back in the hut, the Men in Green were able to go on the attack at the back end of the innings, leading them to a par score of 159.
Stating that Arshdeep Singh should be given two overs at the end, Kumble said:
"In terms of the death bowling, I would go with Arshdeep to bowl atleast two overs and then Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowling one each."
"Have Arshdeep bowl one or two in the powerplay depending on the situation and then Shami and Bhuvneshwar can bowl the majority of the overs in the powerplay."
Arshdeep was given two overs at the death following his stellar spell at the top with the new ball. He conceded 23 runs off his last two overs, including 14 runs in the dreaded penultimate over.
How should India approach their spin combination and death bowling for their clash against The Netherlands? Let us know what you think.