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T20 World Cup: Former cricketer calls for Axar Patel’s inclusion in India playing XI for Pakistan match

India’s left-arm spinner Axar Patel bowls during a match. — AFP/File

As the Pakistan team prepares for their upcoming T20 World Cup match against India, former Indian cricketer Wasim Jaffer has backed Axar Patel’s inclusion into the playing XI for the high-voltage match.

With the match set to be played at New York’s Nassau County International Cricket Stadium on June 9 at 7:30pm PST, Jaffer believes that Axar could come in handy for skipper Rohit Sharma since the pitch there has favoured fast bowlers.

The former batter is of the view that spinners such as Kuldeep Yadav might struggle to bag wickets.

Jaffer’s remarks come as the pitch at Nassau has recently raised eyebrows with teams struggling to cross even the 100-run mark.

South Africa and Sri Lanka played the first match at the venue, where the Islanders batted first and were bundled out for just 77 runs. This was their lowest score in T20Is. Whereas, India managed to bowl out Ireland for 96 runs in the second match.

Following the concerns raised by the cricketing fraternity, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has assured that the ground staff will “remedy” the situation of the pitches at the venue.

In a media statement ahead of the Pakistan-India clash, the ICC admitted that the two pitches used in the stadium did not play “as consistently as we would have all wanted”.

The cricket body said the world-class grounds team had been working hard since the conclusion of the last game to address the situation assuring to deliver the best possible surfaces for the remaining matches.

Continuing on tomorrow’s match between arch-rivals, Jaffer told Indian media: “You want Axar to play because his batting might come in handy. You also want Kuldeep to play. However, due to the pitch on offer in New York, you would need Axar’s batting.”

“There might be a possibility that the pitch might improve for the spinners if the groundsmen continue to roll the pitch,” the former cricketer added.

With India coming off from a win, where Axar bagged one wicket in his one over, it would be interesting to see what playing XI does the Indian skipper chooses for tomorrow’s clash.

T20 World Cup squads

Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Saim Ayub, Mohammad Rizwan, Azam Khan, Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Abrar Ahmed, Mohammad Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf.

India: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj.

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