'They will be a lot balanced' - Graeme Smith suggests replacing Odean Smith with Bhanuka Rajapaksa in PBKS XI

Odean Smith was purchased by PBKS at a cost of INR six crore during IPL 2022 mega auction.

Odean Smith
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Rajapaksa can add that value of a left-hander: Graeme Smith  (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

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Former South Africa skipper Graeme Smith has opined that Punjab Kings (PBKS) should replace West Indies all-rounder Odean Smith with Sri Lanka batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa to balance their side well. To note, PBKS bagged Odean for INR six crore in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 mega auction.

The West Indies all-rounder was adjudged player of the match in his debut match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) after his unbeaten knock of 25 runs in just eight balls. Since then, the 25-year-old has made only 26 runs. Apart from his four-wicket haul against five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians (MI), the Jamaican has struggled with the ball as well.

Odean was also the sole reason for PBKS’s loss against GT. The right-arm pacer gave away 19 runs in which Rahul Tewatia smashed him for two consecutive sixes and helped Gujarat Titans win off the last ball. As a result, the South African veteran Smith has said that instead Rajapaksa should be given another chance in playing 11 of PBKS.

Rajapaksa can add that value of a left-hander: Graeme Smith 

“Odean Smith hasn’t been able to set the tournament on fire. You are getting into the stage of the competition where you don’t want to be chopping and changing your combination, but with the inconsistency that Punjab have shown and not all the players have put their hands up, they have got to look at the options that can strengthen the team,” Smith was quoted as saying to Cricket.com.

“And I like the option of Rajapaksa. If he can add that value of a left-hander, Punjab will be a lot more balanced,” he added.

To note, the left-handed batter has played three games in IPL 2022 and has amassed 83 runs at a decent average of 27.6 and a massive strike rate of 230.5. However, the Sri Lankan batter was dropped ahead of PBKS’ clash against the defending champions. Talking about his numbers in T20 cricket, Rajapaksa has played 108 matches and has scored 1995 runs.

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