Having won the final ODI by 13 runs, the Indian cricket team will head into the T20Is full of confidence. The first of the three T20Is takes place at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on Friday, and former India captain Sunil Gavaskar believes India should stick with Kuldeep Yadav for the T20I opener after his fine show on Wednesday.
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Kuldeep replaced fellow wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who had conceded 89 and 71 runs respectively in the first two matches, and produced figures of 1/57 including the wicket of debutant Cameron Green. Gavaskar reckons India should stick with Kuldeep, at least for the opening game, while adding that provided Hardik Pandya can bowl 2-3 overs, it will be a huge advantage for India and captain Virat Kohli. Pandya bowled four overs for India in the second ODI and even picked up the wicket of the dangerous Steve Smith.
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“Kuldeep showed good rhythm. He bowled after long time. I think at least for the first T20 International, he can be tried out and see how it goes,” Gavaskar told India Today. “(If) Hardik will bowl a couple of overs in the T20 format and that will ease the load on other bowlers and also create more options for Kohli.”
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Gavaskar, the first batsman to score 10000 runs in Tests, also weighed in on India’s opening pair, believing that KL Rahul should open the batting along with Shikhar Dhawan. Rahul has been batting at No. 5 for India, but as per Gavaskar, both batsman – who were the two highest run-scorers in the IPL (Orange Cap winner Rahul with 670 runs for Kings XI Punjab and Dhawan wit 618 runs for Delhi Capitals) are best suited to begin proceedings for India in the T20Is.
“For me, KL Rahul, who scored nearly 700 runs in IPL and Shikhar Dhawan, who has of late looked most comfortable in T20 format should open the innings followed by Virat Kohli. “If they stay till 14th or 15th over, then Hardik Pandya comes in at number four or if two wickets go in Powerplay, then Shreyas Iyer,” Gavaskar said.