Former Indian batsman Rahul Dravid has suggested that Kedar Jadhav is batting too low and needs to be given opportunities to prove himself. Meanwhile, Ajit Agarkar feels that Virat Kohli needs to justify choosing both MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh in the playing XI to suit long-term goals of the team.
Kedar Jadhav hardly got a chance to play in the Champions Trophy as the top-order of the Indian batting lineup comprising Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli carried most of the burden of scoring during the tournament.
"If he wants to establish himself in the side, should he be the No. 4?" Dravid told ESPNcricinfo. "Should he actually not be sort of almost hiding at No. 6 and actually be given the opportunity to bat at four and see what he can do" If he steps up, great; if he doesn't, then might have to look somewhere else. Kedar Jadhav is batting too low when you have someone like Hardik Pandya, who has been a find, and someone Indian cricket needs to protect and give a lot more opportunities with the bat a lot more. He is bowling his overs. He needs to be batting at four, five in certain games, just so that you can develop him, and to have that kind of allrounder is great for India."
Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni neither hurt India's chances in the Champions Trophy nor were they at their best to see the Men in Blue over the line in the final. Ajit Agarkar noted that their presence might have strained the team's playing combination.
"Four and five are pretty evident," Agarkar said. "Virat Kohli played an extra sixth batsman - you have a [Hardik] Pandya with that kind of hitting ability, [Ravindra] Jadeja can bat, [R] Ashwin can bat, Bhuvneshwar Kumar can bat - you still play that sixth batsman as an insurance because you are not quite sure of your four and five. They have been Indian greats - MS and Yuvraj - but whether they fit in at four and five long term, or looking at 2019 World Cup, is something Virat Kohli will have to answer. Those are such key spots that you don't want to then put your team under pressure, or top order under pressure, and then pick a batsman at No. 6 for insurance. I am glad they have picked Rishabh Pant for the West Indies [tour]."
Agarkar further suggested that the Indian team cannot afford to play both the veterans as opposed to the other teams who pick up pure all-rounders in their playing XI.
"I am not quite sure MS and Yuvraj can both bat at 4 and 5," he said. "It is not because of the final [that I am saying this]; it is almost putting too much pressure on the top three to get the bulk of the runs. Maybe Yuvraj is better off batting lower down at this stage than at No. 4, where he can go and bat freely."
Both Dravid and Agarkar advised the team to take decisions keeping the long-term goal of the 2019 World Cup in mind which would require the decision of replacing MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh with young talent. However, both of them insisted that the Indian team should be ready with their replacements in case the duo run out of form or fitness before the World Cup when both of them will be aged 37.
"It is a call that is got to be taken by the selectors and the management," Dravid said, emphasising the decision should not be in the players' hands. "And what they see as the road map for Indian cricket, and where they see the role of both these cricketers going ahead for the next couple of years. Is there a place for both of them? Is there a place for only one of them? Do you want to reassess it in a year's time, six months' time? Do you want to look at the available talent and see what they have to offer before going back to these two players?
"They have taken a decision to go to the West Indies with a full-strength squad. I really hope they are willing to experiment at least in the playing XI and give more opportunities to people. If you don't do that, suddenly you don't want to come to a situation and, say, in a year's time, where you say, 'We haven't given people chances so these are the only guys we have got.' Better position to be in: 'We have tried everything else, but we still feel that Yuvi and Dhoni are fit, they are playing very well, and they are the guys to see us through.' And no one will complain about that." he added.
However, both the former cricketers agreed that not playing a wrist-spinner in the final cost them dearly.
"We are playing on really flat wickets," Dravid said. "It is tough on them, and … it is not happening. If you want wickets in the middle,
India or West Indies? Who will win?
WI hold a 60-53 H2H advantage over IND historically but in last 10 completed games between them , IND have won 7. IND has also won all last 5 games at this venue.