Former India all-rounder Ajit Agarkar feels Shardul Thakur should play as the third seamer ahead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar if Hardik Pandya is not bowling in the ICC T20 World Cup 2021.
Hardik is yet to roll his hands since the second phase of IPL 2021. While speculation continues to be rife, Agarkar asserted that in-form Shardul should get the nod instead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Speaking on Star Sports show Cricket Connected, Ajit Agarkar said:
"Relatively certain that Virat Kohli would like six bowling options. If the pitch has something to offer, then you can perhaps take a chance with five bowlers, but if it’s a flat pitch, he would ideally want to go in with six bowlers with three seamers and they have lots of spin options."
"And Jadeja is an all-rounder whose batting has come out in leaps and bounds. So, you can treat him as one of the top-order batsmen. So, my six options if Hadik Pandya is not to bowl - would be Bumrah, Shami, Shardul, Ravindra Jadeja, Varun Chakravarthy and Rahul Chahar."
Ajit Agarkar left out Bhuvneshwar Kumar from the playing XI, who conceded 54 runs in the first warm-up game against England on Monday.
The veteran seamer looked out of rhythm, which has kept management on their toes ahead of the all-important tournament.
"Bhuvi's [Bhuvneshwar Kumar] experience is going to be priceless for us" - Virat Kohli
While Bhuvneshwar Kumar's recent form has raised quite a few eyebrows, captain Virat Kohli sounded confident about his senior bowler. Addressing the media during the captain's meeting, Kohli heaped praise on Kumar's low economy rate.
"No, not at all [concerned]. His economy rates still continue to be top notch, something that he's always been known for and his experience comes to the fore under pressure," Virat Kohli said on Satuday.
"He's back to being at full fitness, which augurs really well for our team. I'm sure with the new ball, he'll definitely get some kind of assistance through the tournament and, whatever little there's on offer [for the pacers], Bhuvneshwar [Kumar] knows how to make the maximum use out of that. So, his experience, as I said, is going to be priceless for us," he added.
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India will open their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday (October 24) at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.