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Graeme Smith Doesn’t Understand A Bits And Pieces All-Rounder Axar Patel Walking Out Ahead Of A Frontline Batter Dinesh Karthik In 2nd T20I

Graeme Smith didn’t quite comprehend the Indian team management’s decision to send Axar Patel ahead of Dinesh Karthik in the 2nd T20I.  After scoring 211 in the first T20I in a losing cause, Team India did not have a great day at the office in the second T20I as the hosts only posted 148/6 in 20 overs against South Africa in Cuttack. This total again did not prove to be enough as South Africa chased it down with four wickets in hand and 10 balls to spare.

Eyebrows were raised when Axar Patel was sent ahead of Dinesh Karthik and the move did not pay off as the left-hander departed after scoring 10 off 11 balls while Dinesh Karthik remained unbeaten on 30. It was due to Dinesh Karthik’s blitz in the final over that India managed to go past the 140-run mark.

Dinesh Karthik (L) and Axar Patel (R) (ANI)

Graeme Smith Doesn’t Understand A Bits And Pieces All-Rounder Axar Patel Walking Out Ahead Of A Frontline Batter Dinesh Karthik In 2nd T20I

Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith was left fuming at the call to send Axar Patel ahead of Dinesh Karthik and he even went on to term the all-rounder as a “bits and pieces batter”.

“In what world does an all-rounder, who is a bits and pieces batter walk in ahead of a frontline batter? I just do not understand this. Dinesh Karthik is one of the most experienced cricketers in India, how many games he has played for India, over 160. Never mind the IPL, anything else he has played. How can you send Axar Patel ahead of him? This is just mind-blowing for me,” Graeme Smith said after the second T20I between India and South Africa.

Graeme Smith Image Source : ICC
Graeme Smith Image Source: ICC

When Hardik Pandya was bowled by Wayne Parnell, India had been reduced to 90 for 4 in the 13th over against South Africa in the second T20I in Cuttack. Dinesh Karthik had been slotted in at No 6 but he was held back as India decided to send in Axar Patel instead.

While spinner all-rounder Axar Patel could manage only 10 off 11 deliveries, finisher keeper Dinesh Karthik, who arrived at No 7 with five overs left, overcame a slow start to knock an unbeaten 30 off 21. However, India could only post 148 for 6 in a four-wicket defeat.

Dinesh Karthik had taken IPL 2022 by storm with his incredible power-hitting skills for Royal Challengers Bangalore -RCB in the slog overs. He scored 330 runs in 16 innings at a strike rate of 183.33 with one half-century averaging 55.  Dinesh Karthik made his India debut in 2004 and went on to play India’s first-ever T20I match. If all goes well, he will play the ICC T20I World Cup 2022 at the ripe age of 36.

Sunil Gavaskar Said No Question Arises About Sending Dinesh Karthik Ahead Of Axar Patel

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar also said that Dinesh Karthik should have come ahead of Axar Patel and sometimes the labels like “finisher” do not help aside.

“Definitely, definitely. There is no question about it (on whether Dinesh Karthik should have come ahead of Axar Patel). Sometimes there are these labels like a finisher. And when you talk about a finisher you think he will come only after the 15th over. He can’t come in the 12th or the 13th over. And we have seen these happen in the IPL as well. A lot of teams have only kept their big hitters for the last 4-5 overs,” said Gavaskar.

Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

“When actually, if they had been sent earlier, because they have the ability to work the ball around, they don’t necessarily have to start hitting sixes from the time they come in. But the fact that they get to the batting area, they are moving the ball around and they get the feel of what the pitch is doing then those last five overs where they can throw their bat around becomes that much easier,” he added.

In the second T20I, South Africa won the toss and opted to bowl. India posted 148/6 in 20 overs with Shreyas Iyer top-scoring with 40. Dinesh Karthik remained unbeaten on 30 off 21 balls. For South Africa, Anrich Nortje returned with two wickets. India was unable to defend the total even after Bhuvneshwar Kumar took four wickets. India and South Africa will next square off in the third T20I on Tuesday.

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