Robin Uthappa feels India not trying a sixth bowling option in the India-New Zealand T20 series could be a byproduct of Rohit Sharma’s captaincy elevation. The new Indian T20I skipper has stuck to his five-bowler formula despite Venkatesh Iyer being part of the playing XI.
Robin Uthappa’s remarks came while previewing the final T20I on Saturday. He conjectured that Rohit Sharma might be the type of captain who “doesn’t believe in the need” for a sixth bowler. The wicketkeeper-batter added that we need to give the new captain-coach combination some more time to understand their thinking.
Robin Uthappa told ESPNcricinfo:
“What kind of a captain Rohit Sharma is? Perhaps Rohit Sharma as a captain doesn’t believe in the need for a sixth bowling option. ‘I am happy with five bowlers only, I will play seven batsmen’. So we’ll have to give Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma some time to understand their thinking. I don’t know whether Venky Iyer will bowl in the next game or not but I am certain that we need to give them some time. Until Rohit is not asked, ‘Why are you not giving bowling to Venky Iyer?’, we won’t get to know.”
Robin Uthappa added:
Perhaps his mindset is completely different. Perhaps we [the audience] are looking at it like this because we are coming off a defeat in the World Cup, and are searching for a solution to cover up that hurt. But maybe Rohit Sharma is a captain who’s confident of managing it with five bowlers. So we have to just wait and watch.
The sixth bowling option was a matter of much debate during the T20 World Cup, where India couldn’t make it past the group stage. With Hardik Pandya not giving any overs initially, both Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma talked about the need for an extra bowler as a defensive option during a bad outing for one of the main bowlers.
Iyer replaced Pandya in the playing XI after the latter was dropped from the squad. Iyer’s maiden call-up to the Indian team was propelled by not only his aggressive and effective batting style, but also his penchant for bowling the difficult overs. In light of all this, observers have found it surprising not to see him bowl.
Robin Uthappa picks his “only change” in India’s 11 for 3rd T20I
India are currently leading the three-match series 2-0, making the final match a dead rubber. When asked if India might want to bring back Ishan Kishan to the batting order for this game, Robin Uthappa said he doesn’t foresee any changes except pacer Avesh Khan getting his India debut in place of a rested bowler.
Robin Uthappa said:
“I don’t think there will be any changes in the batting order. The only change I can think of is resting one of the bowler to give Avesh Khan a chance.”
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The final T20I will commence at 7:00 PM IST today in Eden Gardens, Kolkata.