Aakash Chopra feels R Ashwin might be redundant at the Wanderers
Aakash Chopra believes Team India might not need a specialist spinner for the second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg. He reckons the Virat Kohli-led side should go in with a four-pronged seam attack.
India fielded Ravichandran Ashwin as a specialist spinner in the first Test at Centurion. Apart from him, their attack included three frontline pacers and Shardul Thakur as a seam-bowling all-rounder.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra opined that Team India could do without a specialist spinner on the fast and bouncy Wanderers pitch. He explained:
“This pitch is regarded as one of the fastest pitches in the world. Should India make a change in the XI? I would say you need to be a little pragmatic. You were going with the five-bowler theory till now, you may want to junk that theory right now because you might not need spin here.”
The cricketer-turned-commentator also feels that the visitors should ditch their five-bowler theory. Chopra reasoned:
“You might not need five bowlers here because the opposition batting is not that great and your batting is also not going that good. You don’t need five bowlers to dismiss the team in front of you and you might need an extra batter because your No.3 to No.6 have not scored a lot of runs if you talk about the last six months.”
The Indian team has suffered frequent batting collapses lately. The esteemed middle order of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane have been woefully out of form.
“I am saying play six batters” – Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra wants Hanuma Vihari to play as an additional batter
While opting to stick with Pujara and Rahane for now, Aakash Chopra believes Team India should lengthen their batting. He said:
“I am saying play six batters. You can play Pujara and Rahane, you should play them. Rishabh Pant scored 34 runs in the 2nd innings of the last match but the batting is still short, too many collapses are happening.”
The 44-year-old feels playing Hanuma Vihari as an extra batter will also increase India’s bowling options, compensating for Ashwin’s likely absence. Chopra elaborated:
“Ashwin did pick up a couple of wickets in the end but he didn’t dismiss any top-order batter. The amount of bowling you will need on this Wanderers pitch, even Hanuma Vihari will do that much work. You had sent him to South Africa to get ready as well. It is the turn now to play an extra batter.”
Aakash Chopra concluded by saying that Team India can field Umesh Yadav instead of Shardul Thakur as the fourth pacer in such a scenario. He observed:
“Go with proper four bowlers. You don’t need to play Shardul then, you play him because you need an all-rounder. But if you play Vihari and have Pant at No.7, you will have place for four proper bowlers. Umesh Yadav will be my pick.”
Aakash Chopra did acknowledge that the all-pace approach might hamper Team India’s over rate, but still wanted the visitors to go with such an attack. The Indian team were docked one point for their slow over rate in the Boxing Day Test.