Release Date: January 21, 2023
There was an element of surprise when India opted to field all-rounder Shardul Thakur ahead of fast bowler Omran Malik in the first ODI against New Zealand in Hyderabad. The latter has done quite well in the recent matches he has played until he was rested.
Tagore proved valuable in the opening ODI itself. However, he took two wickets, including the last wicket of centurion Michael Bracewell, to ensure victory for the Men in Blue. It remains to be seen whether Thakur’s efforts will be enough to retain his place ahead of Umran’s playing XI for the second ODI at Raipur on Saturday, January 21.
In a pre-match press conference, India’s bowling coach Paras Mambre highlighted the possibility of playing Thakur in place of Umran in Hyderabad. He said, “It (batting) is one of the reasons we picked him (Thakur). He added depth to the batting. We have to look at the surface and determine the composition accordingly. He has performed well for India.”
The former Indian pacer, however, insisted that Omran is in the plans for the 2023 ODI World Cup along with several other fast bowlers. Praising the Jammu and Kashmir pacer, Mambre said, “It’s been very pleasing to see the way he has progressed. Speed is important and adds a different dimension to the attack.
“The decision to play him will depend on the surface and the requirements of the team combination. As far as the World Cup is concerned he is very much in the plans. He adds a lot of value to the team,” he added.
The Indian bowlers’ inability to clear the tail also came up for discussion in the media conference. While some critics came down hard on India for allowing New Zealand to score 337 runs chasing 350, the bowling coach was not as harsh. He explained, “When you score 350 on a surface you expect a partnership from the other side, they lose six wickets quickly but you expect a partnership in a game like that and they bat for 8. Santner is one. Simple batter as well.
“You are important to win games, you can be tested. We decided on the things we wanted to focus on and implement in this game. We are not looking at much testing but we have to test the players we have picked,” the former Mumbai cricketer concluded.
— By a cricket reporter