Gautam Gambhir has slammed Virat Kohli for underusing Jasprit Bumrah in the powerplay and has stated that the Indian skipper made a ‘tactical blunder’ that no other captain in the world would have committed. Gambhir further warned that Smith’s form could spell bad news for the Indian bowlers.
India were inserted into a bowl on a hot afternoon in Sydney, but it only took skipper Virat Kohli all of four overs to make an interesting yet bizarre tactical decision. Kohli removed talisman Jasprit Bumrah from the attack after just two overs, and instead opted to replace him with Navdeep Saini, and the decision backfired as apart from Saini getting pasted, both Warner and Finch got their eye in when Bumrah was brought back into the attack in the 9th over. The bizarre tactical move backfired as Warner and Finch strung together yet another hundred-run stand, which Smith & Co. capitalized on to pile misery on the visitors.
Reflecting on the 2nd ODI, and Kohli’s captaincy, former Indian skipper Gautam Gambhir slammed Kohli for his tactics and came down hard on him for his blunders. Gambhir questioned the weird decision to pull Bumrah out of the attack after just two overs and stated that there is no other captain in the world who would make such a miscalculated, uncalled-for change.
“Leadership is important. The tactical mistakes that were made are equally important as well. You’re over-dependent on Bumrah and Shami, but if you’re going to give Bumrah just two overs up-front, then where are you going to get your wickets from?,” Gambhir said on ESPN Cricinfo’s post match show.
“He is by far one of the best fast bowlers going around in world cricket, and you end up giving him two overs. And we’ve always maintained that Australians are top heavy. All three top order batsmen are in great form, so you’ve got to strike early.
“But if Bumrah only bowls two overs upfront…. It amazes me, it’s not a tactical error; it’s a blunder. I don’t think any other captain in world cricket would bowl Bumrah for just two overs with the new ball in Australia.”
An interesting narrative in this series has been the IPL flops of Australia turning up for the nation, and the Indian IPL hits failing to hit the ground running. There have been fears of a potential IPL hangover for the tourists but Gambhir slammed the people justifying India’s rust and claimed that no player can have excuses when representing the nation.
“You can’t have an IPL hangover. There are a lot of Australian players who were in the IPL as well. When you’re playing for your country, there are no excuses.”
On Sunday, Smith raced off to his second consecutive 62-ball century, nonchalantly dismantling the Indian bowlers without breaking a sweat. While the limited-over games were expected to be his ‘weak point’, they have, instead, turned out to be a warning sign for Indians heading into the Tests, where Smith is the number one ranked batsman in the world. Gambhir noted that the signs for the visitors are ominous and claimed that they could be in for a ‘long summer’, taking into consideration the indomitable form of Steve Smith.
“Indian bowlers will be wary of Steve Smith. If he gets in, in Test cricket, it’s going to be a long, long summer for Indian bowlers. The task is cut out for the Indian fast bowlers and I’m sure the way Steve Smith has started, getting him out is going to be a huge concern.”