Pant’s decision to put Axar ahead of Karthik in the second T20I has been widely panned by cricket luminaries, who believe it was one of the reasons for India’s loss in Cuttack.
Legends of the game have slammed Captain Rishabh Pant’s decision to send bowling all-rounder Axar Patel ahead of Dinesh Karthik in the second T20I, believing that the move was one of the reasons for the Men in Blue’s second consecutive series loss. After India’s four-wicket loss against South Africa at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Sunday, Pant’s partner Shreyas Iyer justified the decision.
With seven overs to go, Axar was called in at No. 5 after India fell four wickets in quick succession, including Ishan Kisna, Pant, and Hardik Pandya. Anrich Nortje dismissed the left-hander for 10 off 11 as he struggled to make an impact.
Karthik was sent in at No. 7 and hammered an unbeaten 21-ball 30 that included two sixes and as many boundaries as he could muster. It aided India’s 148 for 6 total.
After the ejection of Hardik, Iyer revealed to the press that India needed someone to rotate strike rather than a strike hitter, which is why Axar was sent ahead of Karthik.
“We just had seven overs remaining, and Axar can take singles and keep the strike rotating.” At that point in time, we didn’t need someone to come in and start hitting right away from ball one. DK can do that as well, but he’s been a great asset for us after 15 overs, when he can slog the ball straight away. It was difficult for him as well at first “he stated.
Iyer, who finished with a 35-ball 40, also remarked about the difficult Cuttack surface.
“To be honest, it was quite difficult. I bowled 35 balls and couldn’t figure out how the wicket was going to play. I was also attempting to timing the ball, and I tried everything I could think of. Even so, it was quite tough for the new batsman to settle in and get going “he stated “We could have spent a little more time up the order assessing the wicket’s condition.” At the same time, you must keep an eye on the scoreboard. A score of 160 may have been a great way to put them under some pressure.”
With India behind 0-2 in the series, the third tie against South Africa in Vishakhapatnam will be a make-or-break match.