After India lost the third Test by an innings and 76 runs, former India cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar has reckoned that India should play Suryakumar Yadav ahead of Hanuma Vihari and should drop a bowler to play 6 batsmen in the playing XI. Vengsarkar also talked about off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Cheteshwar Pujara was unbeaten on 91 and Virat Kohli on 45 as India started Day 4 of the Headingley Test from their overnight score of 215/2 on Saturday. Expectations were high from the duo and the Indian team, who were on the backfoot for most part of the third Test, but all of that came crumbling down.
Pujara failed to add anything to his individual tally, Virat Kohli fell 45 runs shorts of his much-awaited 71st international hundred and the visitors very soon a lost the match by an innings and 76 runs. Upbeat England levelled the 5-Test 1-1 with their spirited performance which came after losing the Lord's Test by 151 runs.
Following the defeat, former India cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar suggested that Suryakumar Yadav, who travelled to England just ahead of the second Test, should play ahead of Hanuma Vihari in the fourth Test. Vengsarkar, a veteran of 116 Test matches, also rooted for an extra sixth batsman in the playing XI.
"I don't like to sound as if it's a knee-jerk reaction but I firmly believe we need to strengthen our batting line-up by including Suryakumar Yadav ahead of Hanuma Vihari. We should drop a bowler and go in with six batsmen," Vengsarkar, one of the best national selection committee chairman told PTI in an exclusive interaction.
In fact, Vengsarkar's comments also aligned with another Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar who has also supported the six batsman theory. Vengsarkar believes that Surya, who averages more than 44 in first-class cricket has the talent and temperament to make a difference for India in the next Test match.
"Surya can match (in terms of skills) with the best in this Indian team and since he's around for sometime now he should be included before it's too late," Vengsarkar said.
The former India captain also talked about the "baffling" absence of Ravichandran Ashwin from the first three Tests. Featuring in a county match for Surrey ahead of the England Test series, the off-spinner had scalped six wickets in the second innings.
"Why Ashwin has not been picked so far is a mystery to me?" Vengsarkar perplexed. "You leave out your best spinner out of the playing eleven to me is hard to digest.
"India will have to play with four bowlers and six batsmen if they have to win the remaining games," added Vengsarkar, who has 6,868 Test runs with 17 hundreds to his name.
The fourth Test will be played at The Oval in London from September 2.