'We Might See Axar and Not Hooda': Ex-IND Opener Predicts Jadeja's Replacement for Pakistan Clash

Defending champion Team India will look to extend their winning streak in the ongoing Asia Cup 2022 when they take on arch-rivals Pakistan in a Super 4 tie on Sunday. Rohit Sharma & Co won both their group stage games – against Pakistan and Hong Kong – to ensure a direct qualification to the Super 4 round. But ahead of their next fixture, India dealt with a major blow as all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was ruled out of the tournament with an injury.

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Axar Patel has replaced the southpaw, but former Indian opener Wasim Jaffer is ‘tempted’ to have Deepak Hooda in the playing XI when India takes on Pakistan on Sunday. Speaking with ESPNCricinfo, Jaffer opined that Hooda could add strength to India’s batting line-up.

“I will be tempted, there is no doubt about that. Because it makes the batting even stronger. Against Pakistan especially, we have not played the brand of cricket we talk about, that aggressive approach, because our batting is till seven. If Hooda comes in, the batting will get a bit longer, so yeah, I will be tempted. He can bowl those two overs and can bat anywhere,” Jaffer said.

The former cricketer further mentioned that Hooda may not get considered for the Pakistan clash as India would need a left-hander who can replace Jadeja in the line-up. Jaffer said if Rishabh Pant misses out, as he was benched in the previous encounter against Pakistan, then Axar is likely to get a spot in the final XI.

“I think that is the only question. If India doesn’t play Axar Patel, or even Rishabh Pant, I mean Rishabh Pant is not expected to play because India have gone with Dinesh Karthik. But the only problem is, there’s no left-hander. Pakistan have Shadab Khan and Mohammed Nawaz. So, you will be tempted to play at least one left-hander and use him as a floater when they’re bowling. So, saying that, that’s the only question mark. So, because of that, we might see Axar Patel and not Deepak Hooda,” Jaffer stated.

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