Aakash Chopra believes it’s still too early for India to consider Chetan Sakariya as an option for the T20 World Cup. The venerable pundit said despite his highly impressive ODI debut, the young left-arm pacer is still developing and can’t be looked at par with the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar.
Chetan Sakariya picked up two crucial wickets in the final India-Sri Lanka ODI, giving away just 34 runs from his eight overs. The 23-year-old got just a 2-over spell in the powerplay. He then returned to bowl at a time when the hosts were running away with the game and brought his team back with consecutive strikes.
“It (Chetan Sakariya’s variations and left-arm angle) could be an advantage but we should never take our eyes off the big picture and analyze everything in a balanced manner. He played the first game here, which is in itself a tough job. He has only played 10 List A matches and then got just a 2-over spell upfront on debut. Coming back from all that and still performing well is an arduous task and he did all that so you earmark him as a good bowler and observe his development. But you can’t, after just one good performance, think of him straightaway as an option for the T20 World Cup,” Aakash Chopra told ESPNcricinfo.
The former opener cited the example of Vijay Shankar and Dinesh Mongia to explain how ‘wildcard’ players tend to be unsuccessful in World Cups.
“When you pick a 15-member team for an ICC event, I believe you should pick those guys you have observed and analyzed for a long time. When you find someone out-of-the-box, mark him for the future and not for the present. We have the example of Vijay Shankar from 2019 and Dinesh Mongia before that. There’s always one wildcard entry in every World Cup and Chetan Sakariya might be the one this time, but, I have never seen any wildcard perform well yet,” Aakash Chopra added.
Will Chetan Sakariya play in the first T20I?
When asked whether Chetan Sakariya will warrant a place in the first T20I on Sunday (July 25), Aakash Chopra replied in negative. He lauded the youngster but said he’d still go with the experience of Kumar and Chahar.
“I really liked Chetan Sakariya’s performance. He bowled two overs upfront and then returned with a host of back-of-hand slower ones, bouncers, yorkers, from over the stumps and around the stumps; he is a brilliant bowler. But can I play him in the first match? Probably not, I’ll go with Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) and (Deepak) Chahar,” Aakash Chopra concluded.
The first of the three T20Is starts at 8:00 PM IST in Colombo on Sunday (July 25).
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