After a seven-wicket loss to New Zealand in the ODI series opener in Auckland on Friday, where India were criticised for playing a bowler short, captain Shikhar Dhawan and head coach VVS Laxman made two changes for the second game in Hamilton on Sunday. Sanju Samson and Shardul Thakur were dropped to make way for Deepak Hooda and Deepak Chahar in a bid to add bowling depth. But former India cricketer Ashish Nehra was left baffled by the selection and rather questioned the logic behind it and urged the management to show some stability. (India vs New Zealand Live Score)
India played five bowlers on Friday as New Zealand comfortably chased down the target of 307 with 17 balls to spare. Samson had scored a 38-ball 36 n the series opener while also stitching a crucial 96-run stand alongside Shreyas Iyer that helped India revive after a quick fall of wickets. Yet, India chose to drop Samson, who had earlier missed out on the entire T20I series despite being part of the squad.
However, Nehra, in conversation with broadcasters Prime Video, was more concerned with the logic behind the selection choices made in the series so far. He admitted Chahar being a better option than Thakur, but felt that with India backing the latter in the series opener, it was harsh to drop him after just one game.
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“I hope they haven't picked Deepak Hooda for his bowling. You have Washington Sundar, yes, he bowled well, picked up a few wickets in the T20Is. He's your sixth option, but not a great sixth option. Two changes India have made today, first thing, I don't feel two wrongs make a right because it's not that Shardul Thakur hasn't done well. But before Thakur it should have been Deepak Chahar. Now you have gone with Thakur and it is harsh to drop after one game,” he said.
Nehra, however, wasn't concerned over Samson missing another opportunity and reckoned that Hooda would have definitely been a pick ahead of the former as he was part of the T20 World Cup squad. But Nehra fears that Hooda is slowly falling out of reckoning.
“Even if you see Sanju Samson, I would have played Hooda ahead of Samson because he was part of the World Cup squad and suddenly he is nowhere. So it's difficult for Hooda as well as Thakur," he explained.
“Bowling wise - two debutants, then Sundar and Thakur, who has played a lot of T20 cricket but not a lot of ODI cricket lately, and then Chahal. Five bowling options is okay but you should definitely have a sixth option. But that sixth-bowling option for me is not Hooda, it's Deepak Chahar. You can go with four pacers because there is no Hardik Pandya, and then you can pick two spinner. Sundar is a good-enough batter and then you have Thakur and Chahar. You have to hold the fort somewhere and not keep adjusting all the time.”
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