T20 World Cup 2022 IND vs SA: Gautam Gambhir Slams India’s Decision To Include Deepak Hooda
Former India batsman Gautam Gambhir was left puzzled by India’s decision to include Deepak Hooda in the playing XI for the match against South Africa. The two teams clashed on Sunday evening at the Optus Stadium in Perth for a crucial Group 2 encounter of the Super 12 round.
India, who played the same eleven in the last two victories against Pakistan ad the Netherlands, decided to make a change: Axar Patel made way for Deepak Hooda.
This decision baffled Gautam Gambhir, who questioned where would India bat Deepak Hooda because they already have a settled top 5, and Hooda, with whom Gambhir worked extensively during the IPL 2022 at Lucknow Super Giants, he feels, isn’t a finisher like Dinesh Karthik who’d come in and slog from the outset of his innings.
Against Pakistan, Axar Patel bowled 1 overs for 21 runs, but made a strong comeback against Netherlands returning with figures of 2/18. Axar is a bowling all-rounder while Hooda is a batting all-rounder who can bowl an over or two of off-spin. India opted to lengthen their batting with Hooda against a solid South African bowling attack on a fast and bouncy Perth pitch.
Gambhir acknowledged that since the Proteas have three left-handers (de Kock, Rossouw, Miller), Axar wouldn’t have been effective, but the former KKR skipper wasn’t pleased with this change.
“Ya, it was quite surprising for me. Why would you want to go with a batter when something is working for you. I know Axar has not bowled a lot, but he has bowled four overs in the previous game. India has gone with only 5 main bowlers and Hooda is your sixth bowler. Probably the reason could be that South Africa have a couple of left-handers in their ranks, that is the only reason I can think of,” Gambhir said on Star Sports.
Gautam Gambhir asserted that Hooda isn’t best suited to the number 6-7 role.
“But where you are going to play him? Are you going to play him at number 7? He is not someone who can bat at number 7. It is good to depth in your batting, there is nothing wrong in it, but it depends on who you are getting. If the batter is suited for the position, that also matters. And we will have to wait and watch how India fare with a less strong bowling line-up,” Gambhir concluded.