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Robin Uthappa backs Deepak Hooda over Rishabh Pant considering current form

image-l7vzsa25Deepak Hooda and Rishabh Pant (PC: Twitter)

Following India’s lukewarm performance in the Asia Cup 2022, the former cricketers and analysts are coming up with various suggestions for the T20 World Cup. India’s middle-order batter, Robin Uthappa, is the latest to join the party as he reflected on the number five batter for the Men in Blue.

Mostly, Rishabh Pant is assigned the duty of playing at number 5. However, the Asia Cup 2022 saw India opting for a flexible middle-order with Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Pant, and Hardik Pandya changing their batting positions now and then.

Uthappa believes that the spin all-rounder Deepak Hooda is a perfect cure for India’s unstable middle-order. The 36-year-old backed Hooda to make a permanent place in the Indian line-up as the number five player. The Chennai Super Kings batter believes that the 27-year-old is in better form as compared to his contemporaries. Also, Hooda provides an extra bowling option to the skipper Rohit Sharma.  

Uthappa suggests dropping Rishabh Pant

The Lucknow SuperGiants all-rounder played all three matches for India in the Asia Cup 2022 Super Four round. However, he failed to make a significant impact and ended up with knocks of 16 and three runs against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

He was handed the ball for the first time in the tournament in the last game against Afghanistan. Hooda looked in a good rhythm as he scalped the wicket of Rashid Khan while giving just three runs in his one over.

In conversation with Cricinfo's T20 Timeout, Uthappa reckoned,

"I would say that the No.5 position is between Rishabh and Hooda. The only thing is, Hooda is batting better at the moment and he can offer you something with the ball like he did against Afghanistan. It took him one ball to show he can contribute with the ball. Uska acha time chal raha hain (He is going through a good patch), you know, make the most of it.” 

Uthappa suggests changes in India’s middle-order

Uthappa justified the number five position for Hooda saying that there is no point in bringing him down the order as he is a middle-order batter. To accommodate the all-rounder, the 36-year-old suggested that Hardik should come at number six followed by Dinesh Karthik as India’s prime wicketkeeper.

Notably, Hooda has excellent stats in the shortest format of the game since his debut for India. He has accumulated 293 runs in 12 games at an average of 41.9 and a strike rate of 155.8. The right-hander smacked his maiden international hundred in July in a T20I game against Ireland.

Also Read: Should Virat Kohli be India's regular opener in T20Is?