Renowned cricket expert Sanjay Manjrekar took to Twitter to reveal his Indian XI for the first ODI to be played on Friday and decided to drop Hardik Pandya and Jadeja. He stated that he picked his preferred XI based on the principle of playing specialists as he took Manish Pandey as his No.6.
Ahead of India's first ODI against Australia that will be played tomorrow in Sydney, former Indian cricketer-turned analyst Sanjay Manjrekar named his desired XI for the opening encounter. Manjrekar picked Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal as the openers and decided against promoting KL Rahul at the top of the order despite the right-hander earlier stating that he's ready to play at any place from 1 to 6 in the side. He opined that given Rahul's last four innings at No.5, there is no point in disturbing his position.
"KL Rahul at no 5 in last 4 inns has two 80s & one 100 why change that? India needs a good middle order. Mayank’s hitting form and Test temperament makes him an exciting option as opener for now," tweeted Manjrekar.
However, one of the most surprising aspects of his XI was omitting both all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja from the XI. India lacks power-hitters in the side and that is where Pandya is invaluable to the side while Jadeja is a decent option with both bat and ball. But Manjarekar is of the opinion that Pandya is untested as a specialist batsman.
He stated, "Hardik as pure batsman in 50 overs cricket? Untested. I would go for the tried & tested material of Manish Pandey." Manjrekar, who shares a history with Ravindra Jadeja was grilled on the social media platform for leaving out the all-rounder. He defended his decision to overlook Jadeja and reasoned, "I have a principle about selection that has come about from years of study and personal experience. Pick specialists. Jadeja walks into my Test team as bowler."
On Jadeja, he also joked, "Use him as substitute fielder first chance you get," when someone pointed out to Jadeja's fielding abilities. Not picking Jadeja means India's tail starts from no.7 itself. But Manjrekar warned against thinking on those lines and asked people to believe in the specialists of the side.
"Why imagine the worst? This negativity/insecurity is what makes captains change winning combinations. Have done enough research to conclude ..great teams that have long term, sustained success have only specialists."
Sanjay Manjrekar's XI for 1st ODI:
India XI: Dhawan, Mayank, Kohli, Iyer, Rahul, Pandey, Shami, Kuldeep, Chahal, Bumrah, Saini/Shardul.
Here you go Vaibhav..— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) November 26, 2020
Based on the principle of playing specialists -
8- Kuldeep( Virat will pick Jadeja )
11- Shardul/ Saini https://t.co/vFgwF6XliF