The roles of captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri must be assessed if India fails to any of the two remaining Test matches from the series down under, feels legendary Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar. The former India skipper is baffled by the continuous “selection blunders” committed by the Indian team management.
Despite taking a 1-0 lead in the four-match Test series, India allowed hosts Australia to level the series 1-1 after losing the second match at Perth by 146 runs. While batting has been a major concern for the visiting side, what got highlighted more in Perth was the lack of a proper spinner – in a match where Nathan Lyon proved to be the difference between both sides.
Lyon finished with a match-winning performance in Perth, where India had gone in with four specialist pacers with only Hanuma Vihari providing a spin option.
“We have been seeing this – the selection blunders that have been committed since the tour of South Africa. It has cost the team because it has lost matches which could’ve been won if the proper selection had been made,” Gavaskar was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
“They have to look at the combination of their team, look at the hole that needs to be plugged and pick the men too. If they do that then they can certainly win the next two matches but if they don’t, and that too against this Australian team which does not have Steve Smith or David Warner, then the selectors need to think whether we are getting any benefit from this lot – the captain, coach and support staff.”
Gavaskar also slammed the Indian selectors for selecting 19 players for the Australia tour even when the norm is to pick 16 players.
“I want to find out that who has authorised 19 players to go because the next question is why not three more? The BCCI is a very rich body, it can afford to send even 40 people down there. However, I feel that an India cap, an Indian blazer has to be made a lot more valuable. … by carrying players and taking 19 players, I do believe that the selection committee has not handled their responsibility well,” said the 69-year-old.
The former India opener also mentioned that players, who are unlikely to be picked in the remaining two Tests, should come back home and play domestic cricket to improve their form.
“A lot of those players can come back and play domestic cricket which will not only embellish our domestic cricket, lift the standard of our domestic cricket but also give these guys, unlikely to be picked in the Test matches, an opportunity to regain form and make a case for getting back in the team.”
KL Rahul, who has been in horrible form and has failed to put up a single half-century score, should be the first one in the flight back home.
“He (Rahul) has no chance of playing in the remaining two Tests unless of course there is an injury to any player. I think that he should be coming back and playing Ranji Trophy for Karnataka. It is not just that he is out of form, he is just not there and you can see that. He can prove me wrong and I will be very happy to be proven wrong as long as the Indian team benefits,” he added.
India face Australia in the third Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day.