Former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has asserted that India need their leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal back in the side, claiming that Krunal Pandya can't be the team's fifth bowler. India had lost the second ODI after they scored 336, with England batsmen plundering the hosts' bowlers.
The second ODI turned out to be a nightmare for Indian bowlers as English batsmen attacked them right, left and center, giving them no place to hide. Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes added 175 runs for the second-wicket in a rapid manner and England went on to hunt down 337 with 39 balls to spare to level the three-match ODI series with a game to spare. Indian spinners had a disastrous outing with Krunal Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav giving away 156 runs in 16 overs, looking clueless against England's counter-attack.
Krunal Pandya, who had made a good comeback with the ball in the first ODI, gave away 72 runs in six overs and had the worst figures of all, going at an economy rate of 12 per over. Indian cricket pundit Sunil Gavaskar reckons that the elder Pandya cannot be team's fifth bowler, due to which India need to play leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.
"I will say the Indian bowling was probably a little weak because Krunal Pandya cannot be your fifth bowler, he cannot be a bowler who bowls 10 overs. You need a bowler like Yuzvendra Chahal on such pitches, who can bowl 10 overs. Pandya brothers can bowl 10 overs together but if the Indian team has to perform well and win the next match they will have to think a lot about their fourth, fifth, and sixth bowlers," Gavaskar said on Star Sports, reported HT.
He felt that Chahal could have had the pair of Stokes and Bairstow under pressure and rued the absence of Ravindra Jadeja as well.
"There was no pressure on Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow. If the Indian team had a spin bowler, like Yuzvendra Chahal or Ravindra Jadeja, the story might have been different," said Gavaskar.
Gavaskar is of the opinion that Krunal can only play at 5 or 6 when he just has to bowl few overs.
"If you are going to bat Krunal Pandya at No.7, you will have to see him as a bowler who can bat. But is that the correct number for him? If you are playing him as a batsman at No.5 or No.6 and if he has to bowl 4-5 overs, it is fine but the Indian team needs to have five bowlers and the sixth can be Hardik Pandya, who can bowl 3-4 overs," Gavaskar added.
The series-decider between India and England will take place on Sunday in Pune.