Aakash Chopra expects Rohit Sharma to score a big hundred if the Indian skipper reaches the three-figure mark in the inconsequential third ODI against New Zealand.
The final game of the three-match series will be played at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore on Tuesday, January 24. The match will be of academic interest as the Men in Blue have already clinched the series with wins in the first two ODIs.
Aakash Chopra Feels Rohit Sharma Will Play As A Century Is Due For Him And He May Score A Huge One
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra reflected on the possible changes to India’s XI.
The former Indian batter feels Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill will continue to open, elaborating: “Rohit Sharma will play, a century is due for him. Will Rohit Sharma score a century today? I feel he will do it today. A century can come on this ground and if he scores a century, it will be a huge one, it will be 150-170. Shubman Gill is not taking the name of getting out, so he will also try not to get out once again.”
Aakash Chopra reckons Virat Kohli and Ishan Kishan will also hold onto their spots, reasoning: “Virat Kohli has had a slightly cold series. So he would want to score big. Ishan Kishan was not out in the last match and was dismissed in the match before that. He will not get opportunities repeatedly because KL Rahul is married now, he will be available in the next series and he will be playing ahead of Ishan Kishan.”
Virat Kohli has managed just 19 runs in his two innings thus far and has been dismissed by Mitchell Santner on both occasions. Ishan Kishan was dismissed for five in the 1st ODI at Hyderabad and faced just nine deliveries in the 2nd ODI at Raipur scoring an unbeaten 8.
In the last few innings, Rohit Sharma scored 27 and 51* (against Bangladesh), 83,17, and 42 (against Sri Lanka), 34 and 51 in the 1st two NZ vs IND ODIs. His last ODI ton came in January 2020 against Australia. Since that ODI ton in 2020, Rohit Sharma has played 16 ODIs and has managed 5 fifties in that time, but his hundreds column is zero. He has gotten starts many times but has been unable to go on and score a hundred.
Aakash Chopra Feels Hardik Pandya Could Be Rested And Personally Is In Favour Of Umran Malik Playing 3rd ODI
With the series already won, India would love to test their bench strength in the third and final ODI against New Zealand in Indore on Tuesday. It is highly likely that India will rest vice-captain Hardik Pandya, pacer Mohammed Siraj, and chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav. Hardik Pandya will lead India in the T20Is and both Mohammed Siraj and Kuldeep Yadav are expected to play a big role in the upcoming Border-Gavaskar (India vs Australia) series, starting from February 9.
Aakash Chopra feels Hardik Pandya could be rested for the inconsequential game, explaining: “You can rest Hardik Pandya if you want for workload management because after this you have three back-to-back T20Is immediately from the 27th where Hardik will be the captain. So you can ask him to take a break here and that you can manage. You can go with that thinking and play your reserves.”
Aakash Chopra wants Umran Malik to play instead of Shardul Thakur but added that the Indian team might not make that change, saying: “I don’t think there can be any other change because you will play Shardul Thakur. You like him and you need batting depth as well. Otherwise, I would personally play Umran Malik. If the ground is so small, I would sacrifice my batting and try to play an extra bowler. But will the Indian team do that? I have no idea.”
Umran Malik could get to play the final ODI in place of either Mohammad Shami or Mohammed Siraj even if the team management wants to persist with Shardul Thakur. Hardik Pandya might play as a pure batter if his workload needs to be managed as he would want to be among the runs ahead of the T20Is against the same opponents.