Sanjay Manjrekar reckons that Gujarat Titans (GT) should consider bringing back Sai Sudharsan to their playing XI for Qualifier 2 against Mumbai Indians at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Friday, May 26.
The former cricketer opined that Gujarat will benefit from having a left-handed batter in their top order. He suggested that Sudharsan should come to bat at No. 3 over Hardik Pandya, who has struggled to get going at that position.
During a discussion on ESPNcricinfo ahead of the all-important encounter, Manjrekar said:
"I think there is enough firepower in that batting lineup. You've got David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar and Rashid Khan. Sai Sudharsan might be a better option.
"Hardik Pandya batting at No.3, not quite contributing, plus the left-hand right-hand combination will help because a lot of teams have used left-arm spin very early against them because of the top four or five being all right-handers."
Sudharsan last featured in GT's playing XI on May 15 in a league match against Sunrisers Hyderabad. The southpaw had an impressive outing, mustering 47 runs in 36 deliveries.
Whenever he has got a chance, the talented youngster has done a fine job with the bat for the defending champions. The 21-year-old has amassed 223 runs from six outings, including two half-centuries this season.
"Looks a very organized player" - Tom Moody on Sai Sudharsan's batting exploits for GT
During the same discussion, former Australian cricketer Tom Moody mentioned that having Sai Sudharsan at No. 3 allows Hardik Pandya to come at No. 4 or No. 5, where he can play with a lot more freedom.
The veteran coach emphasized that Gujarat should accommodate Sudharsan in the playing XI by replacing pacer Darshan Nalkande, elaborating:
"[Darshan] Nalkande will have to make way if we are going with Sai Sudharsan, and I agree with that call as well. He looks a very organized player and I think he just fills that spot at No.3, and it just allows Hardik Pandya to just sit back at N0.4 or No.5 possibly if they want to put Vijay Shankar in front of him to play that sort of a role where he can express himself without the fear of responsibility."
Notably, the upcoming contest is of utmost importance for both GT and MI. The winner of the knockout fixture will advance to the IPL 2023 final, joining Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
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