'Axar ki ballebazi...' - What can work for India vs Pakistan

1 month ago 38

Opinions fly thick and fast when the context is cricket's biggest rivalry --

India vs Pakistan

. On Sunday, the sport's traditional foes will face off once again to write another chapter in the history of their famous encounters, and the excitement is fast approaching its match-day crescendo.
Pakistan's upset defeat against USA may have disappointed the team's fans, but the stakes for the big game have only grown, as it's now almost a must-win match for Pakistan to keep alive their hopes of finishing in the top two positions in Group A .

T20 World Cup: Schedule | Points Table

Only the top two teams from each of the four groups will progress to the 'Super 8s' stage of the tournament.
India, on the other hand, won emphatically against Ireland with a seven-wicket margin, after bowling out the 'Green Shirts' for just 96. But that's where the worry also is.
The drop-in pitches being used at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York have proved difficult to bat on becuase of their up-and-down nature. In fact, teams batting first haven't been able to post a three-figure total so far in the two matches played here.


Sri Lanka were bowled out for 77 by South Africa and India bundled out Ireland for 96. It's for that reason former India opener

Wasim Jaffer

believes that picking the right combination will be important for both India and Pakistan.
India opted to open with Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in the match against Ireland, which meant Yashasvi Jaiswal had to sit out. Also

Axar Patel

was preferred over Kuldeep Yadav because of the former's batting skills lower down the order. India also went in with three specialist pacers -- Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Arshdeep Singh -- besides all-rounder Hardik Pandya who also bowls seam-up.
Talking about the same on Star Sports, Jaffer believed India might go in with the same playing eleven against Pakistan.

"Shuru mei lagta that Jaiswal open karenge, lekin shayad woh combination banta nahi hai. Aap chahte hain Axar bhi khelein. Axar ki ballebazi shayad zaruri hoti hai (at the start it seemed Jaiswal will open but that combination doesn't work because you want Axar to play and his batting is important)," said Jaffer.
Ahead of the tournament, it was also believed that Kuldeep will be the preferred specialist spinner in the eleven. However, the dodgy nature of the tracks and the difficult batting conditions in New York tilted scales in favour of players with all-round skills, like Hardik, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar.
"You also want Kuldeep to play but the kind of pitch it is, according to me you will need Axar's batting because here you will see fast bowlers being used more. So Kuldeep won't have much effect. It will be the fast bowlers doing the damage," reckoned Jaffer.
"Maybe the pitch gets a little better, it will continue to be rolled maybe. So far not even a total of 100 has been scored on this pitch, but maybe for the big India vs Pakistan encounter, it's a little better pitch and we see better cricket. But I feel fast bowlers will take more wickets," Jaffer concluded.