Deepak Hooda (Photo Source: Twitter)
Former India batter Suresh Raina opined that all-rounder Deepak Hooda should be given more chances prior to the 2023 ODI World Cup. The former batter expressed that Hooda’s potential with the bat and ball could give the Men in Blue, a massive upper hand.
During a conversation on Sports Tak, Raina believed that Hooda could play the role of a ‘floater’ batter considering that he offers a lot both with the bat and ball. He also cited examples of India greats such as Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh to back Hooda in the ODI squad.
“I remember how Viru (Virender Sehwag) pa, Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh) pa, and Sachin (Tendulkar) paaji used to bowl. Yusuf (Pathan) and I as well. Whenever a left-hander used to come to the crease, Mahi (MS Dhoni) Bhai would call me. I think Deepak Hooda could bring that factor; he can be the floater batter. He’s a terrific fielder, a good offie, and can replicate his T20 form in ODIs,” Raina told Sports Tak.
Notably, Hooda last featured in an ODI match in November 2022 against New Zealand at Christchurch. Furthermore, the 2023 ODI World Cup is scheduled to kickstart in October-November in India.
Player who can give you 4-5 overs gives good balance: Raina
Raina further stated that the pitches during the time World Cup commences may not necessarily provide much turn. Though, the likes of Axar Patel, Ravindra Jadeja, and Hooda would play a key role, Raina opined that Hardik Pandya’s pace and variation will come in handy.
“We have Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel; there will be spin-friendly wickets, and it will be a bit cold when the World Cup starts. There will be dew, and there might not be much turn on offer. Axar, Jadeja, and Hooda will be important, and so will Hardik Pandya with his pace and variation,” he added.
“We saw how Viru pa and Yuvi pa used to bring impact with the ball. Yuvi Pa was the X-factor; he bowled really well, and that confidence also showed in his batting. It’s also easy for the captain when there’s a player who can give you 4-5 overs. It gives you a good balance,” Raina concluded.
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