The Men in Blue have opted to go for all-rounder Shardul Thakur to strengthen their batting department. The medium pacer has claimed three wickets in the two one-dayers. However, Akmal feels that India must have Malik as part of the playing XI.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, he commented, “This Indian bowling unit might struggle in conditions that are good for batting, especially against top teams. It is very important for India to accommodate Umran Malik in the playing XI.
“He is getting better and better and can surely prove to be a match-winner. The bowling lineup will look very strong when Jasprit Bumrah returns,” he added.
Malik was extremely impressive in India’s previous white-ball series against Sri Lanka. He claimed seven wickets in three T20Is and five scalps in two ODIs.
Speaking about India’s impressive performance, Akmal added that India are looking good to whitewash the Kiwis. The 41-year-old commented, “India should look to whitewash New Zealand. The team is very high on confidence and the players look in a good rhythm.
“The good thing about this Indian side is that they have won matches while both chasing and defending. We have seen in the past that they prefer to chase. However, they want to tick all the boxes ahead of the World Cup,” he added.
Meanwhile, former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan said that the people must stop worrying about captain Rohit Sharma’s batting form. During a discussion on Star Sports, he commented, "I am repeatedly saying that you shouldn't worry too much about Rohit Sharma's form at all. This was his first half-century while chasing against New Zealand and it came at the right time."
"He made only one mistake when the ball hit his pads, there was an lbw appeal, they wanted to take the DRS but didn't take it. But other than that, he looked in complete control, we saw amazing shots, on the up on the off side and the leg side,” Pathan added.
After India’s bowlers starred to dismantle New Zealand for 108 in the second one-dayer in Hyderabad, Rohit scored an impressive half-century as India won by eight wickets. The third match of the series, a dead rubber, will be played at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore on Tuesday, January 24.
--By A Cricket Correspondent