Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batter Kamran Akmal reckons that Team India must look at playing off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in place of a fourth pacer for the last two Tests. According to Akmal, the pitches for the last two Tests do not warrant four fast bowlers.
The fourth Test of the India-England series will be played at The Oval while the final Test will be held at Old Trafford in Manchester.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Akmal stated that Team India need to revisit their strategy of playing four fast bowlers. He reasoned:
“I don’t think the pitches for the remaining Tests need so many pacers. They should bring in Ashwin now. Team India also need an extra batter because Rahane and Pant are not in form, so the side will need some backup.”
The Pakistan cricketer added that while Pujara and Kohli have bought themselves some time with their efforts in the second innings at Headingley, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant desperately need to come up with big scores. He said:
“India were depending a lot on Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli. Their partnership was crucial against the new ball. Had they batted out the tricky period, things would have gotten easier. But Pujara got out early, without adding to his overnight score of 91. Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant are due for runs. Pujara and Kohli scored some runs at Headingley but there will be lot of pressure on Rahane and Pant. They will need to score runs in the coming Tests.”
Akmal further said that the series is nicely poised, with both teams displaying great fighting ability. He commented:
“Looking forward to the next two Tests. This has been a great series with excellent competition between two very good sides. Both India and England have made great comebacks in this series. First, India got out of trouble in the second Test and then England fought back brilliantly in the third. The remaining matches should be interesting.”
Team India should play Suryakumar Yadav at The Oval: Dilip Vengsarkar
Team India skipper Virat Kohli stated after the Headingley loss that he doesn’t believe in playing the extra batter. However, according to former captain Dilip Vengsarkar, India must play Suryakumar Yadav as a sixth specialist batsman for the Oval Test.
Team India’s middle-order has failed to deliver on a consistent basis over the last two years. In the ongoing series against England as well, the same sorry story has been playing out. Speaking to PTI, Vengsarkar opined:
“I don’t like to sound as if it’s a knee-jerk reaction, but I firmly believe we need to strengthen our batting line-up by including Suryakumar Yadav ahead of Hanuma Vihari. We should drop a bowler and go in with six batsmen. Surya can match (in terms of skills) with the best in this Indian team, and since he’s around for some time now, he should be included before it’s too late.”
Yadav has played three ODIs and four T20Is for Team India and averages 44 in first-class cricket.