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Rediff.com  » Cricket » 'Fly out Gambhir, Pujara to New Zealand immediately'

'Fly out Gambhir, Pujara to New Zealand immediately'

January 23, 2014 18:51 IST

'Fly out Gambhir, Pujara to New Zealand immediately'

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Manu Shankar

Former cricketers Chetan Chauhan and Maninder Singh tell Manu Shankar it's time for India to look beyond the struggling Ishant Sharma, and that Gautam Gambhir and Cheteshewar Pujara are best equipped for the conditions in New Zealand.

After India lost the No. 1 ranking in One-Day Internationals following their defeat in the second match against New Zealand in Hamilton on Wednesday, former players hit out at the selectors and the Indian team management for the poor performances in South Africa and in the ongoing series against the Kiwis.

"The selectors have erred in not picking Gautam Gambhir as the third opener. He has previously done well in New Zealand, and in Ranji Trophy this season," former India opener Chetan Chauhan told Rediff.com.

"He should have been there in the side not as a third opener, but as an opener itself.

"Besides, the Indian team management could have flown in Cheteshwar Pujara as he is better equipped to face the short-pitched stuff than the current Indian batsmen," he added.


Image: Gautam Gambhir
Photographs: Morne de Klerk/Getty Images

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'Pujara is the batsman most-needed in these conditions'

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Recently, former India skipper Sourav Ganguly had also asked the BCCI to send Pujara for the ODIs in New Zealand.

'Pujara is the batsman most-needed in these conditions. He has adjusted well in the Test mould and I'm sure he will do well in the ODI format too,' Ganguly had said.

Questioning skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s policy of playing two spinners in seaming conditions, Chauhan said the support staff including coach Duncan Fletcher are also responsible for the recent debacles.

"You tell me, why play two spinners in seaming conditions? If at all you had to play two spinners, play Amit Mishra. Raina can bowl off-spin if required," he said.


Image: Cheteshwar Pujara
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters

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'Ishant is struggling at the moment'

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Chauhan also criticised pacer Ishant Sharma's poor form and hoped that all-rounder Stuart Binny gets a look-in for the third ODI on Saturday.

“Ishant is struggling at the moment. Binny should make it to the final eleven. He is a good hitter of the ball and can utilise the conditions pretty well,” he said.

Chauhan is also of the view that Ambati Rayudu needs to drafted into the side at the expense of Suresh Raina, who has struggled against short deliveries.

“Rayudu has been more of a traveller in South Africa and in New Zealand as well. He deserves a chance and Raina deserves a break,” Chauhan said.


Image: Ishant Sharma
Photographs: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

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'We are struggling despite having a bowling coach'

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Another former cricketer, Maninder Singh, also echoed the same sentiment, that bowling has been a major cause of concern for world champions India.

"Call it the T20 impact or whatever, but bowling is a major concern for Team India at the moment," said Maninder.

"Especially in the death overs where yorkers need to be delivered. These days you have bowling coaches and other coaches, and despite that we are struggling to contain runs," he added.

India's bowlers have conceded 300-plus totals in seven of India's last 14 ODIs, out of which three were in excess of 350.


Image: Joe Dawes and Duncan Fletcher
Photographs: Philip Brown/Reuters

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'Ishant would give you one good game and nine bad games'

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Maninder Singh is of the view that the roles of spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and pacer Ishant need to demarcated.

"Ishant is your most experienced bowler in the team and he is the most inconsistent bowler in the team as well.

"He would give you one good game and nine bad games. I would rather gamble with Binny who has been pretty good in IPL as well," the former left-arm spinner said.


Image: Ishant Sharma
Photographs: BCCI

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'Ashwin's role in the team is confusing'

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Besides that, Ashwin’s role in team is confusing. He is trying too many things in ODIs.

"Whereas Ashwin was gunning for wickets in T20s, in ODIs he is looking to restrict the opposition. Somebody needs to talk to him, as one gets the impression that he is trying too many things at the same time," he added.

When quizzed about all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja's poor outing, Maninder said: "You have to consider Jadeja more of a bowler. He is not a batsman at the international level. Whatever runs you get out of his bat is a bonus."


Image: Ravichandran Ashwin
Photographs: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

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