New Delhi: Ahead of the all-important fifth and final ODI match against New Zealand, legendary Sunil Gavaskar questioned the strategy adopted by India in the ongoing series. The Kiwis have fought back, twice, to level the series 2-2. And the series will be decided today at Visakhapatnam.
The former India captain thought, India missed the services of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, two proven match-winners, in the series. With a long home Test season, the duo were rested.
But their absence has haunted the Indian team. And Gasvaskar certainly, it has weakened India, specially when main bowlers are not doing well.
"When one of your top bowlers like Hardik Pandya is bowling just five overs and a non-regular bowler like Kedar Jadhav has to bowl eight overs, then you are in trouble. India can't afford to leak runs at the top of the attack," Gavaskar told NDTV.
"When two of your specialist bowlers do not bowl their full quota of overs, then that is a worrying sign. Not having Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have weakened the bowling attack considerably. On Indian pitches, they were very lethal," he added.
India lost the fourth ODI match at skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's hometown by 19 runs. Chasing a 261-run target, Indian middle-order collapse even as the team tried tinkering with the order.
Dhoni once again promoted to number four and failed. But the promotion of Axar Patel, who himself fought till the end with a valiant 38 off 40 balls, failed to impress the legend.
"When Dhoni has to bat at No. 4 and there is no faith in No. 5 and 6, then India need to worry considerably. You can't depend on Virat Kohli bailing you out every time. It looks like if Virat fails the others are not being able to handle the pressure," the 67-year-old said.
Kohli failed at Ranchi. He managed 45 off 51 balls, and his failure once again proved detrimental to the team's cause.
India's two wins have come when Kohli scored. In the series opener in Dharamsala, the Test captain led the chase with a 81-ball 85 also. And at Mohali, he scored blistering 154 off 134 balls to give India a 2-1 lead in the series.