‘It seems their hands are tied’ – Former India opener’s bold statement on Punjab ahead of their fixture against Kolkata
In the second fixture of the 16th edition of the Indian T20 League, the Punjab franchise will lock horns against the Kolkata side on Saturday, April 1, at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali. For the 2023 edition, the Punjab management has appointed star India opener, Shikhar Dhawan as the franchise skipper.
The Punjab side will be missing the likes of two English batters, Jonny Bairstow (for the full tournament) and Liam Livingstone (for the first few matches). Ahead of their opening fixture, former Indian opener, Aakash Chopra feels that the side has been compromised. While doing the match preview on his YouTube channel, the former Kolkata franchise batter asserted that the Punjab team will be struggling due to the shortage of overseas players in their squad.
“Punjab has a few issues to address. Earlier it seemed only Jonny Bairstow might not be there but even Liam Livingstone is not there for this match. Kagiso Rabada has also still not come. So it seems their hands are tied,” Chopra was quoted as saying on his YouTube channel while doing the match preview of the second encounter.
I feel you can play him as well because you don’t have too many options: Aakash Chopra
According to the 45-year-old, the hosts should give chance to Matthew Short, who has come into the squad as Bairstow’s replacement for the ongoing edition, and also should go with star Sri Lanka batter Bhanuka Rajapaksha in their opening match of the cash-rich league. He also went on to say that the side has an option of Zimbabwe all-rounder Sikandar Raza.
“They have kept Matthew Short. I feel you can play him as well because you don’t have too many options. After that, you have Bhanuka Rajapaksa and then you look towards Jitesh Sharma and Prabhsimran Singh. You also look towards Sikandar Raza because you don’t have too many overseas batter options,” the right-hand batter asserted.
Chopra concluded by saying that in this season it’s important for Chennai-born all-rounder, Shahrukh Khan to perform as he was retained by the franchise for a whopping price. He also added that except for Rajapaksha and Short, the Shikhar Dhawan-led side should go with Sam Curran and Nathan Ellis as the other two overseas players.