Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar has expressed his disappointment over the ‘baffling’ tactics of the Indian team-management during the World Cup semifinal loss against New Zealand. India were the firm favourites to beat New Zealand after finishing the group stage at the top of the points table. However, the Men in Blue came up with their worst performance of the tournament and lost the semifinal by 18 runs.
Since the defeat, the cricketing world is busy discussing India’s tactics in the game. India’s re-shuffling of their middle order left many perplexed and Sunil Gavaskar is also one of them. Inside three overs, India were reeling at 5 for 3 with Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Virat Kohli back in the hut. While the majority was expecting MS Dhoni to come out and stop the rot, India sent Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya ahead of him.
By the time Dhoni came to the crease at number seven, India were already five wickets down for 71. The veteran wicketkeeper-batsman did revive India’s hopes along with Ravindra Jadeja but could not finish the game. He scored 50 and added 116 runs with Ravindra Jadeja who scored 77. Sunil Gavaskar felt that Dhoni should have been the one to join Rishabh Pant when the fourth wicket fell.
“At that stage (24 for 4) you did not need two players playing in the same mould,” Sunil Gavaskar told Star Sports on Thursday, the day after India’s defeat. “Both (Pant and Pandya) are attacking players. It could have been an MS Dhoni coming in at this stage and talking to Rishabh every second delivery.
“He would have assessed from the non-striker’s end what exactly Rishabh Pant is feeling: is he getting a little impatient? You have sent two people whose natural game is to go bang-bang, and at that stage, with the ball doing all kinds of things and the pressure being there, four wickets gone – you wanted somebody to hang in there. That was baffling,” added the former India skipper.
Gavaskar further said that Indian mass is entitled to answers from the team-management over what made them take such decisions during the game.
“The Indian public is entitled to answers. It is not the selection committee’s decision. It is the team management… At the moment what we are seeing didn’t work out, so we need to know,” he said.