I always want you to play five full bowlers; play Umran Malik in place of Shardul Thakur: Aakash Chopra

India and Australia will lock horns in second ODI on Sunday, March 19 in Visakhapatnam.

Umran Malik and Aakash Chopra
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Umran Malik and Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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Former India opener Aakash Chopra wants India to include speedster Umran Malik in the playing XI for the second ODI against Australia scheduled to be played on Sunday, March 19, at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam. Team India fielded three seamers in their team in the first ODI, one of which was Shardul Thakur, who only bowled two overs in the match.

India ended up winning the first ODI by five wickets after they bundled out Australia for just 188 in the first innings. Speaking ahead of the second ODI, Chopra suggested India to include Umran Malik in place of Shardul, saying that the team should play five proper bowlers and not worry about the contribution from the number 8 batter. 

"Is there any scope for a change other than Rohit Sharma taking Ishan Kishan's place? My personal opinion - you might call it right or wrong - I always want you to play five full bowlers where you shouldn't worry about the batting at No. 8,” said Chopra on his Youtube Channel.

The former cricketer also said India went with Shardul instead of Umran to strengthen their batting.

"Play Umran Malik in place of Shardul Thakur. That's what I feel, but the Indian team wants a batter at No. 8 for sure, and I can understand their thinking that sometimes the top-order players get out, and you might need batting later,” the 45-year-old said.

India’s batting depth was handy in the first game as they were reeling at 83/5 at one stage before KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja got involved in an unbeaten 108-run match-winning stand.

Lord always contributes: Aakash Chopra

Chopra further said there are two ways to look at the situation: an all-rounder and a specialist bowler have their own advantages.

"Even 350-375 runs are scored these days. So, you need more batting at times in such situations because all bowlers get hit. This is one way of looking at it. The other way is that a good bowler manages to escape with 55-60 in 10 overs when others are getting hit for 80,” Chopra added.

He further credited Shardul for his knack for picking wickets at crucial stages.

"So it is up to you in which direction you want to go. The Indian team's thinking is that they want to keep Shardul at No. 8. I am okay because Lord always contributes. The captain didn't get him to bowl much in the last match, so he couldn't do much. But if you get him to bowl, he will also pick up wickets,” he further said.

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