Former India fly-half Aakash Chopra believes the Punjab Kings (PBKS) will struggle to win games consistently in the IPL 2022 if captain Mayank Agarwal doesn’t regain his batting form soon.
The opening hitter had just 136 runs in seven games with a 19.43 ERA and 125.93 strike rate. His only half century came against Mumbai Indians (MI) at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) stadium in Pune. Punjab will face Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) at the same venue on Friday.
Previewing the clash on his YouTube channel, Chopra felt that Agarwal should come back among the runs in the game against LSG. He stated:
“Mayank Agarwal didn’t score any points. If PBKS is to win, they will have to score. there is no doubt. There will be hopes of a good shot from him because his only rating score came from this spot.
Chopra added that Shikhar Dhawan’s return to form bodes well for the franchise, while calling Bhanuka Rajapaksa a phenomenal hitter in the T20 format. The cricketer-turned-analyst added:
“Shikhar Dhawan is in good shape. Like David Warner and KL Rahul, he is consistent when he finds his rhythm. Bhanuka Rajapaksa is a phenomenal player. He plays T20 cricket very well. In the last game, he kicked slowly because Wankhede’s surface was slow. This throw should be slightly faster. After that they have Liam Livingstone and Jitesh Sharma.
In Punjab’s previous game against Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Dhawan scored an unbeaten 88 from 59 balls to lift PBKS to a morale-boosting 11-point win. Agarwal and Co. are currently seventh in the standings with eight points from as many games.
“Consider leaving out Bairstow to bring in Ellis” – Aakash Chopra’s suggestion to PBKS
Analyzing the Punjab team’s combination for Friday’s game, Chopra suggested the franchise might consider bringing in pacemaker Nathan Ellis in place of hitter Jonny Bairstow.
According to the 44-year-old, PBKS could need more pace in their attack against LSG in Pune and explained:
“I think PBKS need to solve a problem in this game. They need pace on this surface. Rishi Dhawan is a good option and is playing well, but he is average pace. For this game, they can think of bringing in Nathan Ellis. They can think about dropping Jonny Bairstow to bring Ellis in for this game. Liam Livingstone, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Kagiso Rabada can stay as three other foreign players in the team. I think they should think about it. “
Ellis, 27, has only played one game for Punjab this season. He had two overs against Delhi Capitals (DC), coming back with numbers of 0 for 15.
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