12/04/2022
Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar reckons a good show in the ODI series between India and Zimbabwe will act as a testing ground for comeback man Deepak Chahars selection in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup squad.

Chahar – who has the best T20I figures for India with 6/7 – is making his comeback in the three-match series against Zimbabwe after a gap of almost six months. The right-arm swing bowler – who is known for his wicket-taking ability in the powerplay – is raring to find his rhythm on the tour of Zimbabwe.

Speaking exclusively on SPORTS18’s daily sports news show ‘SPORTS OVER THE TOP’, Manjrekar said, “I think they’re testing waters with Deepak Chahar more because of his fitness and if he has a sensational 50-overs series which is likely to happen because this guy over the years when you see him in T20 international cricket. I mean he’s got some phenomenal numbers. If you remember in T20 international cricket. So, he is your Bhuvneshwar Kumar of today. The younger version of Bhuvneshwar Kumar who can swing the ball both ways, to begin with. Maybe not as consistent to bowl in the death but that’s the aspect of bowling that’s getting better and better. So, the only thing that will prevent Deepak Chahar from getting into that T20 World Cup squad of the playing 11 is very similar to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar has looked really good. So, they might look for other kinds of seam bowlers but Deepak Chahar is somebody they should keep in mind and he’s got to do something sensational to put his hand up.”

Chahar started the tour on a confident note as the Rajasthan pacer picked up three wickets in the opening one-dayer at Harare in his first spell. Chahar got the wickets of openers Innocent Kaia, Tadiwanashe Marumani, and top-order batter Wesley Madhevere in his first spell of 7 overs.

A lot of debate is also happening on Team India’s batting lineup and opening combination in the short tour Down Under and Manjrekar believes Shubman Gill and Shikhar Dhawan should open the innings.

The cricketer-turned-commentator also shared his thoughts about India’s opening batsmen ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup and said, “Shikhar Dhawan will open. Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad are the other guys who will be pushing KL Rahul and you know the team management as options. So, it will be about somebody making a personal sacrifice from KL Rahul’s standpoint thinking from only his angle. We’ve seen over the years that when he opens the innings, he gets a big one when he backs down the order at 5 or 6 obviously he doesn’t get that opportunity. But then where do you back Shubman Gill? Shubman Gill can bat at number 3. I think Shubman Gill is also somebody that India can start looking as a batter down the order in Test cricket. So, all these things are being tackled and we’ve seen them right through our coverage of Indian cricket. These are the talking points for us. Then there are so many options, so many permutations and combinations that have worked for India. And you know India have managed to win despite making all kinds of changes.”

“So, there’s Ruturaj Gaikwad, there’s Shubman Gill, there’s Shikhar Dhawan, there’s KL Rahul, and wild cards such as Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan opening the innings. So, take your pick but from KL Rahul’s standpoint because he wants to be one of the integral members of the T20 World Cup, batting at the top of the order gets the time to get a feel of matches,” the Mumbaikar added further.