Former Indian Test great VVS Laxman is amongst the many cricketers to urge India to get a sixth-bowling option in their One-day international eleven. The ongoing ODI series against Australia has brutally expressed the lack of a genuine sixth bowling choice, putting undue pressure on the others to deliver. VVS Laxman added that he could name five contenders for that particular spot.
India’s team selection in the first and second ODI copped plenty of criticism for choosing a side that only has five bowlers. The belief in the first ODI further reinforced when India’s frontline bowlers proved toothless as Australia plundered a mammoth total of 374 in 50 overs. The likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, who are India’s new-ball bowlers struggled in the first ten overs to pick up wickets and the situation slipped out of the tourists’ hands.
VVS Laxman mentioned that except for Ravindra Jadeja, India only have pure batsmen or bowlers, which makes captain Virat Kohli’s hands tied severely. Hence, the 46-year old urges the visitors to have a sixth bowling choice even if they have to drop a specialist batsman. VVS Laxman added that the best sides are those when the captain has additional bowling resources and India do not have the luxury at present.
“An old bugbear continued to haunt India. Their make-up has been such that they have only pure batsmen or pure bowlers, with the exception of Ravindra Jadeja. That means Virat’s hands are severely tied. Going forward, India must have a sixth bowling option, even if at the expense of a specialist batsman. The best sides are those where the captain can look around and summon at least one, if not two, additional bowling resources. India don’t have that luxury at the moment,” Laxman told Times of India.
The threat of as many bad days as good days will be too real: VVS Laxman
The 134-Test veteran further said that India must give chances to spin-bowling all-rounders like Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Krunal Pandya or medium-pace all-rounders like Vijay Shankar or Shivam Dube. VVS Laxman want the management to get them into the squad and give them game time so that a back-up is created for Hardik Pandya, who could by that time starts bowling again. Laxman warns that India must do it sooner rather than later to avoid run-fests against their bowling attack.
“I can think of five names that can slot in as an extra all-rounder, given Hardik isn’t bowling these days. There is the spin-trio of Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, and Krunal Pandya, as well as the medium-paced duo of Vijay Shankar and Shivam Dube. The prudent course of action will be to get anyone or two of them into the squad, give them game-time and groom them for the battles ahead. By the time Hardik starts to bowl again, India will have thus ensured a back-up for that position too. Otherwise, the threat of as many bad days as good days will be too real,” he added.