India go into the second One-Day International (ODI) against New Zealand in Raipur in a bid to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. India managed to hang on to a 12-run win in the first game in Hyderabad despite a magnificent fight back by the Blackcaps after Shubman Gill's 208.
Many were left surprised with the selection of Shardul Thakur ahead of Umran Malik. India bowling coach Paras Mhambrey has has however given Umran a huge boost saying that he remains in contention for a place in the 2023 World Cup and his progress over the last year or so has been heartening.
“That [batting] is one of the reasons why we picked him [Thakur]. He adds depth to the batting. We will have to see the surface and decide the combination accordingly. He has performed well for India,” Mhambrey said while addressing the media ahead of the second ODI.
Speaking of Malik, Mhambrey said, "The way he has progressed, it is very heartening to see. Pace does matter and adds a different dimension to the attack. The decision of playing him will depend on surface and requirements of the team combination.
"He is very much in the scheme of things as far as world cup is concerned. He adds a lot of value to the team."
Speaking of Jasprit Bumrah, who has been sidelined for considerable amount of time, is irreplaceable given what he brings to the table.
"Bumrah is a unique bowler and he is irreplaceable, let's accept that fact. It is very difficult to replicate his skills. On the order side, it gives an opportunity for others to be tested at this level. We will find out what they bring to the table and how they deal with pressure," the bowling coach said.
New Zealand nearly pulled off an incredible victory, after being reduced to 131 for 6, chasing 350. Mhambrey says that the issue was discussed in length.
“When you score 350 on a surface like that you expect partnerships from the other side, they lost six quick wickets but you expect in a game like that, there will be a partnership, and they bat till 8. Santner is a handy batter as well,” Mhambrey said.
“What is important is you win games, you may be tested. We have charted out things we wanted to focus on and implement in this game. We are not looking at too much experimentation but we need to test players that we have shortlisted,” he added.
Mhambrey also echoed the sentiments of Ravichandran Ashwin, who said that the matches during the World Cup should begin early so that the dew factor does not come, which usually hands massive advantage to the side chasing.
"Ashwin raised a valid point. Dew does play a part in some venues. It depends when and where you are playing. When the ball does get old, it really tilts towards the batting side," Mhambrey said.
"The spin is not there and makes batting easy. It is something we can look into. The ICC and other members need to take this forward. It is not my call."