Ind vs Eng 1st T20I: After Test heroics, Axar Patel vs Washington Sundar for second spinner role in T20 Series?

Ind vs Eng T20I: After rich red-ball exploits, both Axar Patel and Washington Sundar are competing for the 2nd spinner role against England
Ind vs Eng T20I: After rich red-ball exploits, both Axar Patel and Washington Sundar are competing for the 2nd spinner role against England

Ind vs Eng 1st T20I – Axar Patel vs Washington Sundar for place in IndianXI? After rich red-ball exploits, both Axar Patel and Washington Sundar have been giving the team management a headache — a positive one — ahead of the 1st T20I match against England on March 12 at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad.

When it comes to spin combination, Yuzvendra Chahal’s inclusion in the playing XI looks certain, leaving one more spot to fill up. There come two options in Patel and Sundar. If Patel has been in red-hot form with the red cherry in the recently concluded Test series, scalping 27 wickets in three Tests, Sundar lit it up with the bat. In the series, he scored an unbeaten 85 in Chennai in the first Test and then followed it up with a 96 not out in the 4th Test in Ahmedabad.

But now, both have the chance to be in the reckoning for the T20 World Cup and England series will be their first test. Unlike Test cricket, Sundar has been counted as a specialist bowler in the T20s. His miser spells in the IPL 2020 have been one of the factors behind RCB finishing in the top-4.

Also read: India vs England T20: 4 big headaches India face for selecting playing XI

Who should India go for – Axar Patel or Washington Sundar?

In Sundar, India will have an all-rounder who could provide solidity in the lower middle-order in case the top-order and middle-order batsmen fail. He is patient and that showed in the 4th Test. But Patel isn’t far behind. Despite being considered a specialist bowler, he is a hard-hitter in T20s and can take the game away from the opponent.

As far as his bowling skills are concerned, Patel has given the English batsmen nightmare and that may go in favour of him in the team selection. He had an excellent season with Delhi Capitals in the IPL 2020 and that may get him his place back in the 1st T20I against England.

Ind vs Eng 1st T20I: After Test heroics, it is Axar Patel vs Washington Sundar for second spinner role against England in T20I

Furthermore, the bowling style could matter too. Sundar, a traditional off-spinner could become a good pair with leg-spinner Chahal. But Patel’s left-arm spin has been something that has troubled the visiting batsmen and his four overs could be the key in Ahmedabad. It would be interesting to see who gets the nod.

Pace combination

In all probability, Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are set to make a comeback to the playing XI. Pandya, a medium-pacer all-rounder, gives India the depth in seam bowling, while in Bhuvneshwar, India will get a strike bowler. That leaves with just a place to fill. It would be either between Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini as T Natarajan is doubtful with a shoulder injury.

Also read: Ind vs Eng T20: India captain Virat Kohli could become first batsman to reach 3,000 runs in T20Is

Chahar shot to fame with his 6/7 haul against Bangladesh in 2019 but since then he hasn’t been in good form. Against West Indies, he conceded 111 runs at an economy of 9.65 and in the Australia series, he was expensive as well, giving away runs at 9.25.

Thakur is the other bowler who provides batting depth. But his bowling has been inconsistent. While he was successful against Sri Lanka, scalping five wickets in two matches with an economy of 6.0, in New Zealand, despite bagging eight wickets, he conceded runs at an economy of 9.81 in five matches. In Australia in December, he had a terrible outing in the T20Is, scalping just two wickets and giving away runs at 10.25 in two matches. But his Test form and decent outing in the Vijay Hazare Trophy could give him a place.

As for Saini, he had a poor IPL 2020 campaign scalping six wickets in 13 matches and conceding at an 8.29 economy rate. That could rule him out of the 1st T20 at least. However, when Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami return from personal commitment and injury, respectively, all the pacers could find it difficult to break into the playing XI.

Ind vs Eng 1st T20I: After Test heroics, it is Axar Patel vs Washington Sundar for second spinner role against England in T20I

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