Cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar doesn't want Team India to make too many changes in their playing XI for their upcoming Super 12 match against New Zealand and only suggested the Men in Blue to bring in Ishan Kishan in place of the out-of-form Hardik Pandya, if the all-rounder is unable to bowl in the must-win match on Sunday.
Hardik Pandya flopped with the bat in India's 10-wicket loss against Pakistan in the tournament opener and did not bowl due to fitness issues. Pandya in fact, hasn't bowled at all since July this year because of his recurring back injury which has plagued him since 2018.
Ishan Kishan meanwhile, was also struggling with the bat in IPL 2021 but regained his form in the final stages of Mumbai Indians' campaign and even hit 70 not out in the warm-up match against England to get his touch back.
"The game against New Zealand is crucial so you don't want to make too many changes because that would be a sign of panic. If Hardik Pandya cannot bowl then I would like to see Ishan Kishan coming in his place because he has been in very good form," Gavaskar told India Today.
The former India skipper also backed Kishan to play the role of the finisher that Pandya has been essaying over the last few years for Virat Kohli's team.
"Ishan Kishan can be the finisher that Hardik Pandya has been in earlier times for India but this time around in the IPL as well, his form was not there. So if Pandya is not going to be bowling then I think maybe Ishan Kishan would be a better option. He can be a floater batting at No. 4, 5 or 6," Gavaskar added.
India lost their opening game by 10 wickets against Pakistan in the Super 12 and are now getting ready to face New Zealand in a must-win clash at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.
A defeat for either side will make it very hard for them to stay in the race to qualify for the semi-finals as India and New Zealand both lost their opening encounters against Babar Azam's Pakistan in Group 2.