Jonny Bairstow in action (Image: IPLT20.com)
Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra has raised concerns over Punjab Kings (PBKS) batter Jonny Bairstow’s lack of form in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL 2022). He recently pointed out that the right-hander is yet to play a good knock for his side this season.
Speaking on ESPNcricinfo, Chopra suggested that PBKS have made drastic changes to their batting order to get Jonny Bairstow back in form. He highlighted that skipper Mayank Agarwal even gave up his opening spot for the English keeper-batter.
The cricketer-turned-commentator suggested that the team could bring back Shahrukh Khan in their playing XI and leave Bairstow out. With this change, Agarwal could again play as an opener and overseas batters Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Liam Livingstone could come in at No. 3 and 4, respectively, as per Chopra. He said:
“Mayank Agarwal pushed himself down the order and gave Jonny Bairstow his opening spot. They want their out-of-form player to come into form at any cost. Agarwal has still played one good knock but Bairstow hasn’t even done that. It shouldn’t be the case that you’re trying to get a player into form at the cost of two players.””They will have to address this question at some point as a batter like Shahrukh Khan is sitting on the bench. If they think that Bairstow can’t find a place in the middle order, then Agarwal can open, and Bhanuka can come at No. 3 followed by Liam Livingstone. Jitesh Sharma could be the No. 5 and Shahrukh Khan could come in at No. 6.”
Bairstow has failed to make an impact with the bat in this year’s cash-rich league. The swashbuckler has managed just 80 runs so far this season from seven appearances. Furthermore, Bairstow has an ordinary strike rate of 105.26.
“He hasn’t lived up to my expectations” – Aakash Chopra on PBKS spinner Rahul Chahar
Speaking of PBKS’ bowling attack, Chopra stated that while leg-spinner Rahul Chahar has done a decent job in IPL 2022, he hasn’t lived up to his expectations. He also mentioned that there is still a question mark over the crafty spinner’s fitness as Chahar injured himself during the team’s last fixture.
The 44-year-old mentioned that PBKS have a strong pace attack. He reckoned that Sandeep Sharma has been a consistent performer and he has silently chipped in with inspiring spells on several occasions.
Chopra added that Arshdeep Singh has also been exceptional for PBKS in the tournament. He feels that the left-armer may not have picked up many wickets but has put pressure on the opposition, especially during the death overs. Chopra explained:
“Rahul Chahar hasn’t lived up to my expectations. He got injured during the last game and did not bowl his full quota of four overs. It remains to be seen if he is fit for this fixture. They have Sandeep Sharma, who’s a very underrated bowler. He quietly does his job and doesn’t come into the limelight.””Arshdeep Singh deserves all the praise. Wickets cannot be the sole parameter for success for a bowler. He creates pressure during death overs and as a result, Kagiso Rabada is able to pick wickets.”
The Punjab-based side will next be in action on Saturday (May 7) when they take on the Rajasthan Royals in the 52nd match of the season. The afternoon game between the two star-studded sides will be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.