'I would make maybe one change if not two' - Sanjay Manjrekar suggests big bowling change for India's third T20I

Manjrekar wants Umran Malik in and Axar Patel out for the third match.

Sanjay Manjrekar
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Sanjay Manjrekar. (Photo by Stu Forster-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

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Famous commentator Sanjay Manjrekar has suggested a big change in the Indian bowling unit ahead of the upcoming third T20I match against South Africa on Tuesday. India lost the opening two matches by a big margin and now need a win in the third match to remain alive in this five-match series at home.

India, playing under Rishabh Pant’s captaincy, was forced to choose to bat first in both matches. Batters shined in the first match at Delhi with 211 runs on the scoreboard but bowlers failed to defend this big total. In the second match, India put a defendable target of 149 runs, and experienced pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar set the platform with three wickets in the powerplay. But once again, Indian bowlers failed to convert a good start and struggled to take wickets in the middle overs.

Star bowlers Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, and Mohammed Shami are rested for this tour but India have an experienced pace duo of Bhuvneshwar and Harshal Patel in the team. Avesh Khan, Umran Malik, and Arshdeep Singh are expected young pacers to partner with Bhuvneshwar and Patel if given a chance. In the spin department, India lost Kuldeep Yadav to injury just before the first match. Yuzvendra Chahal and Ravi Bishnoi are two specialist spinners in the rank and Axar Patel is a spin all-rounder option.

Sanjay Manjrekar wants Umran Malik in and Axar Patel out for the third match

India welcomed back all-rounder Hardik Pandya to the national team setup which gave them an option to play an extra spinner. Chahal and Axar both played the first two matches but struggled with just two wickets combined. Chahal bowled only two overs (2.1 Overs) in the first match and went on conceding 49 runs in the second match with just a wicket to his name.

Axar also gave 40 runs in the first match and bowled only an over with 19 runs conceded in the last match. Manjrekar, while interacting with Sports 18, has pointed out that pitches are not in favor of spinners and suggests playing an extra pacer ahead of Axar. He believes the inclusion of Malik will give them a wicket-taking option in the middle overs.

“So here is my recommendation. Have somebody like an Umran Malik come in because pitches aren’t rank turners. If you have rank turners, maybe Axar Patel is a more effective bowler because India needs wickets. So have Umran Malik purely because he has the ability to get wickets in the middle,” said Manjrekar.