The Indian cricket team has begun a new era in T20I cricket after their disappointing exit from the T20 World Cup 2022. With Hardik Pandya a skipper on the tour of New Zealand, India have given the opportunity to the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Umran Malik, Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan etc. But, a few regulars like Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, etc. are also there. As far as the No. 3 role is concerned, there seems to be big competition between Suryakumar and Iyer.
In the T20 World Cup, it was Virat Kohli who took up the No. 3 spot while Surya batted at No. 4. With Kohli not being a part of the series, Iyer comes in as a like-for-like replacement. But, there are some who feel Surya can be a more impactful player if he gets to play one step higher.
In his video on YouTube, however, Ashwin said that Iyer should be given the No. 3 spot as he has “earned his right”.
“Anyway, Shreyas Iyer at 3, and Suryakumar Yadav at 4 are a lock. There will be a temptation to send Suryakumar Yadav at 3. But I think Shreyas has earned his right. So, Shreyas will go at three and Surya will bat at 4,” Ashwin said.
The veteran off-spinner also spoke about the prospects of Rishabh Pant taking up the opener’s spot. He said if Pant gets to open, then Washington Sundar should take up the No. 5 role, being a left-hander.
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“If you send Rishabh Pant at the top, we won’t have any left-handers in the middle order. Not having a left-hander in the middle order is also highly spoken-about. Having a left-right combination in the middle is really important in T20s. Is there a left-hand middle-order option available?
“The only other option left is Washington Sundar. I don’t know whether they will bat him at number 5. If they don’t see him in that role, I don’t know where else he will fit in this squad. Remember, this is a comeback for Washington Sundar as well,” he said.
Ashwin himself isn’t a part of India’s squad on the New Zealand tour. Whether he will still be considered for T20I selection or not, is a matter that needs a little more clarity from the selectors.
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