In the next T20 World Cup 2022, former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar predicts that Ravindra Jadeja will struggle to secure a regular spot in India's starting lineup. Recently, there have been numerous discussions on which players, particularly in the middle and lower orders, will start for India. The selectors are finding it more difficult to decide on their chosen squad for the major tournament in October-November due to the returning performances of Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya.
Due to an injury, the star Indian all-rounder was unable to participate in India's five-match T20I series against South Africa this month. With just 116 runs and 5 wickets in 10 matches for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League 2022, his performances were subpar.
Against South Africa, Axar Patel batted at number seven as a spin all-rounder option, but he did not prove himself worthy of that spot with his performances.
When asked about their ideal starting eleven for the World Cup in Australia, many former cricketers, notably Irfan Pathan, chose Jadeja at number seven. However, Manjrekar thinks Axar might be given the go-ahead to start before Jadeja.
“Clearly, Dinesh Karthik has shown that he can be a number 6 or 7 as a pure batter. The impact that he is making is phenomenal and we saw that in T20Is against South Africa and also in the IPL. So, it’s not really going to be easy for Jadeja to come in and take his place and India might settle in with somebody like Axar Patel.” Manjrekar said in a virtual chat with Firstpost.
“The side now has Hardik Pandya, Karthik batting down the order. Rishabh Pant is also there so it’s not going to be easy for him. But knowing the kind of player Jadeja is, he will be making sure that the headache doesn’t get less for the selectors.” He added.
Manjrekar also shared his views on the worrying form of star wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant. He was named as a stand-in skipper for the South Africa series but the player failed to make an impact as captain and with his bat as well. He scored 58 runs in five matches at an average of 14.50 and a poor strike rate of 105.45. Manjrekar reckons that Pant is still a work of progress and demands more time.
“The kind of performances that we have seen from all the guys, Rishabh Pant will feel the pressure of having to perform. My thing is to wait and watch with Rishabh Pant because he is different, and enigmatic and he has shown it at the Test level. He is a remarkable player. But in the white-ball cricket, he is someone who is still in the process of telling exactly what kind of a player he is,” Manjrekar concluded.