Gautam Gambhir has batted for the inclusion of Suryakumar Yadav and feels that team India would be better off replacing Shikhar Dhawan with the MI star, and promoting Kohli to open the batting. Gambhir also hoped for India to pick Navdeep Saini over Sundar to address the side’s one-dimensionality.
After announcing a day before the first T20I that Shikhar Dhawan was in the squad as a reserve opener, Indian skipper Virat Kohli sprung a surprise at the toss by naming the 35-year-old opener in the starting XI, owing to Rohit Sharma being rested. However, the opportunity turned to be a forgettable one for Dhawan, who could only manage to score 4 runs off 12 balls before being cleaned up by a pacy Mark Wood. On the back of Shreyas Iyer top-scoring for India, the chances of any of the reserve players in the squad getting a look-in seems slim, but, previewing the 2nd T20I on ESPN Cricinfo, former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir threw a left-field idea.
Gambhir suggested India to drop the misfiring Dhawan for the red-hot Suryakumar Yadav and push skipper Kohli to open the batting alongside Rahul, leaving the Mumbai Indians star to take the vacant #3 slot.
“I would still wanna have a look at Suryakumar Yadav,” Gambhir said on ESPN Cricinfo.
“I would like to see Virat Kohli open the batting. It’s going to be unfair on Shikhar Dhawan, after just one opportunity, and I think they would still go ahead with the same batting line-up, but I would still like to see Suryakumar Yadav instead of Dhawan and see Virat open the batting (Surya at No.3).”
India’s batting on Friday was underwhelming, but their bowling wasn’t any better. On a flat deck their spinners failed to extract turn, and lack of pace in the side meant that the chase became a cakewalk for England, who raced to victory in under 16 overs. India picked both Axar Patel and Washington Sundar for batting depth, but Gambhir wants the Men in Blue to do away with this strategy. The 39-year-old insisted that the hosts’ attack is one-dimensional, and hence suggested the team to drop Sundar and replace him with the raw pace of Navdeep Saini.
“India were thin on the fast bowling front. Just too one-dimensional. I know both Axar and Sundar have done well, but India are batting too deep. You don’t need Washington batting at No.8. You probably would rather have someone like a Navdeep Saini. I know the English bowlers might cherish India playing a fast bowler, but then again, you’ve got to have pace in your bowling line-up.
“India at the moment look very one-dimensional. They were spin heavy.. You’ve got Bhuvneshwar Kumar who bowls around 130, Shardul Thakur does not bowl express pace. So I would rather have someone like a Navdeep Saini - purely from a pace point of view - instead of Washington Sundar.”
The second of the five T20Is will be played in Ahmedabad on Sunday, March 14.