IND v SA 2nd T20I: “We didn’t require someone to come in and start hitting straightaway” – Shreyas Iyer clarifies on sending Axar Patel ahead of Dinesh Karthik

South Africa maintained their winning streak in the second T20I at Cuttack, defeating India by four wickets to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

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Fans and cricket analysts criticized stand-in skipper Rishabh Pant for elevating Axar Patel ahead of Dinesh Karthik in the batting order during the 2nd T20I against South Africa in Cuttack on Sunday.

Axar was promoted to No. 6 and scored 10 runs on 11 balls before being eliminated by Anrich Nortje.
With his unbeaten 21-ball 30, which featured two maximums and as many boundaries, Dinesh Karthik lifted India from 112/6 to 148/6 in the 17th over. South Africa chased down the target with 10 balls remained owing to Heinrich Klaasen’s magnificent 81-ball knock.

Following the game’s four-wicket loss to the Proteas, batsman Shreyas Iyer justified the decision, claiming that ‘rotating strike’ was the need of the hour. He said in a post-match news conference that the team didn’t need someone to come in and hit from ball one, therefore Axar was brought in.

Speaking to the press after the match, Iyer explained that India wanted someone to rotate strike and not a strike hitter after the dismissal of Hardik and hence Axar was sent ahead of Karthik.

“We had seven overs left and Axar is someone who can take singles and keep rotating the strike. We didn’t require someone to come in and start hitting straightaway from ball one at that point in time. DK can also do that, but he has been a really good asset for us after 15 overs, where he can straightaway slog the ball. Even he was finding it a little bit difficult at the start,” he said.