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‘Woh kehna chahte main Virat Kohli, Rahul ko replace karunga par darr gaye’ | Cricket

Deepak Hooda is a classic example of the problem India has with their T20I battle unit. He thrives while batting in the top three. His impressive IPL numbers for Lucknow Super Giants in 2022, the season that gave him the final push to break into the Indian side and his two impressive strikes for India so far, have all been achieved while batting in the top three. So what’s going on here? One may wonder. The problem is that Hooda is only allowed to bat in the top rank when players like KL Rahul and Virat Kohli are resting. When they are available, he has been asked to hit number 5 or lower, which has not produced the desired results.

In the current T20I series against New Zealand, Hooda has been given the role of batsman at number 6 despite rests from Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul. The reason is quite obvious, the team management has made it clear that there is no room to hit in the top so if Hooda wants to cement his place in the XI he better do a good job as a finisher.

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Before the third T20I against New Zealand in Napier, Hooda was asked about his favorite batting lock. The Baroda cricketer, who also bowls useful off spins, said he would settle for No. 5 as a ‘legend’ (Virat Kohli) batting No. 3 for India. “I would like to hit on 5, we have a legend playing on 3 and I have to be realistic, I don’t get that spot (smiles). It’s sometimes a problem to adjust to hitting on 5 or 6, but I fulfilled that role because I am a utility player and have to play according to the game situation,” said Hooda.

Responding to Hooda’s statements, former Indian cricketers Mohammad Kaif and Ajit Agarkar said the all-rounder was reluctant, perhaps also a little afraid to say clearly that he wants to bat at number 3 for India.

Woh thoda atak gaye the, unko atakna nahi hai, unko bolna hai ki mujhe upar khelna hai. I want to do good for India, mujhe khelna hai. KL Rahul k jagah ana hai mujhe, Virat Kohli ko replaces karna hai. Unko bolna padega, woh waha darr gaye thoda. Woh bol gaye top 3 nahi main neche hi theek hu. Unhe ghabrana nahi hai. Mujhe top three mein khelna hai, ye agar unki mansikta hogi toh hi unke liye faida hai. (He hesitated there, he shouldn’t do that. He should say, ‘I want to hit higher in the rankings. I want to do well for India. I want to play instead of KL Rahul, I will replace Virat Kohli.’ He has to say this without getting scared. He can only do good for India if he has that kind of mentality),” Kaif said on Prime Video.

Woh kehna chahte the ki mujhe teen number khelna hai but socha nahi rehne dete hai. (He wanted to say that ‘I would like to hit number 3 but couldn’t)’, Agarkar said.

Hooda also took four wickets with the ball in India’s victory in the second T20I. “I’m an all-round batsman, so scoring runs is very important, but I’m also working on my bowling and I want to pitch in when the team needs me. I’ve been playing as an all-rounder since my debut, I’ve worked hard for the last 3 months worked on my bowling even when I’m not on the team,” he said.


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