Renowned expert VVS Laxman revealed that he was not a big fan of India making wholesale changes to the side in the third ODI, and claimed that he would have preferred seeing Bhuvneshwar and KulCha play all three matches. Laxman further wants mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy to play all 3 T20Is.
With the ODI Super League being inconsequential to them due to being hosts, India, with the series in the bag, decided to experiment in the third ODI in Colombo, handing as many as five players their maiden ODI caps. Sanju Samson and Nitish Rana were the batting debutants, while, barring Navdeep Saini, India fielded a bowling attack full of debutants. The newbies got valuable exposure, but the move ultimately cost them the game as Sri Lanka won the match by 3 wickets to end the series 2-1.
Many touted India’s move to experiment a ‘smart’ one, but in disagreement with the decision is VVS Laxman. The legendary Indian batsman, writing for Times of India, asserted that he is unhappy with the move to rest key bowlers, and explained that he would have preferred to see the likes of Bhuvneshwar, Kuldeep and Chahal get more matches and overs under their belt.
"I am not saying this with the benefit of hindsight or because of the result (India lost the third ODI), but I was a little surprised by the number of changes made to the Indian XI for the final ODI," Laxman wrote in his column for The Times of India on Sunday.
"Agreed, there is loads of talent within the squad and many of the debutants caught the eye, but I’d have loved a little more constancy, especially in the bowling department."
"Someone like Bhuvneshwar Kumar needs overs under his belt to hit peak rhythm, as was obvious in the first two games. He would have been better off with another 8-9 overs leading up to the T20I series, which assumes greater significance because it is India’s last outing in this format before the World Cup later in the year.
"I also believe Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav should have played the last game (third ODI) and extended their good run, because penetrative spin in the middle overs has been a bit of a problem in white-ball cricket for a little while,” Laxman wrote.
But despite expressing discontent, Laxman heaped praise on debutants Chetan Sakariya and Rahul Chahar, who between them claimed five wickets to give the hosts a late scare in the game.
"Having said that, I was impressed with the composure Chetan Sakariya showed on debut, and how beautifully Rahul Chahar bowled, particularly in his last spell,” Laxman said.
The 46-year-old further hoped for mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy to play all three matches in the T20I series. Chakravarthy is a part of the squad, but the 29-year-old is yet to make his international debut, having twice missed out on a potential India cap due to fitness concerns.
The first of the three T20Is will be played today at the R.Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.