Mohammad Kaif has criticized India's team management for not opening the innings with Rishabh Pant in India's first T20I against West Indies and bringing in Suryakumar Yadav instead. Kaif further added they are known for giving players ample chances but it was not the same in this case.
The Indian team management made a surprise move on Friday by letting open with Suryakumar Yadav alongside Rohit Sharma in the first T20I of the five-match series at Brian Lara Stadium. Many thought Ishan Kishan was supposed to pair with Rohit in KL Rahul's absence. Otherwise, Rishabh Pant, who was experimented as India's opener in England T20Is recently, could be the one. But they all proved to be wrong when Suryakumar Yadav walked into the middle with Rohit to open the innings.
Though the decision did not work as the BCCI would have liked. At the top, Suryakumar did play a few classy strokes, but he never seemed comfortable at the crease totally, particularly against Akeal Hosein. The stylish batter rode on his luck a couple of times to reach 24 off 16 balls before he was undone by Hosein in the fifth over.
While having a conversation with FanCode at the end of India's innings, Mohammad Kaif slammed India's team management, led by Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid, for experimenting with Suryakumar as an opener. The former Indian batter pointed out that Suryakumar will only fit at No. 4 when Virat Kohli and KL Rahul will return, and they should rather give Rishabh Pant more opportunities.
“Whatever that was I did not understand it, at all. If you were trying Rishabh Pant as the opener for 2-3 matches then you should have gone with him today as well. Give him at least 5 chances. And this strategy of captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid, they back the players at least 5-6 matches. But this did not happen with Pant," Kaif said during the innings break, streamed on Fan Code.
"And Suryakumar has the role of controlling the innings in the middle and adding those finishing touches. In fact, his role will remain as the No.4 batter when Kohli and Rahul return. But Pant should have been tried. Clearly did not understand what happened. Ishan Kishan is also waiting."
It would be interesting to see if India still play Suryakumar as an opener in the second T20I versus West Indies, scheduled for August 1.