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regular-article-logo Sunday, 28 May 2023

South Africa tour: Sunil Gavaskar bats for experience

The 72-year-old pointed out the flaws in India’s field placements in the second Test

The Telegraph Published 08.01.22, 02:35 AM
Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar File Photo

Sunil Gavaskar wants the team management and the critics to be more patient with senior India players like Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, arguing that the experience that they bring along is priceless.

The former India captain explained why it is important to back the experienced players even though the temptation of young and exciting talents are always there.

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After a string of poor performances, the under-fire duo of Pujara and Rahane came good with the bat, scoring half-centuries in India’s second innings of the second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg.

“The team has backed them because of the experience and what they have done in the past. They had the belief that they will come good and they did,” Gavaskar said on Star Sports. “Sometimes we can be a little bit hard on some of our senior players because you have these exciting young players waiting in the wings and we all want to see them get a bit of exposure.
“But as long as these senior players are playing well and not getting out badly, then I think we should show faith in them,” he added.

Posers on captaincy

India played the Wanderers Test without their regular skipper Virat Kohli, who was ruled out of the game in the last minute with a lower-back spasm. Despite the knocks from Rahane and Pujara, India lost the game by seven wickets with South Africa captain Dean Elgar playing a defiant, match-winning innings on Thursday.

While noting that India have won Test matches in the past in Kohli’s absence, Gavaskar indicated that he was not at all impressed with stand-in skipper KL Rahul’s captaincy.

“It is amazing, this is the first time that India have lost a Test match in which Virat Kohli has not played. They drew once in Sydney, but otherwise they have always won,” he said.

The 72-year-old pointed out the flaws in India’s field placements, which, according to him, helped Elgar during his innings.

“I thought giving Dean Elgar those singles at the start of the innings was making life a little bit easier for him. Elgar is not a hooker of the ball, so to have two men in the deep did not make any sense. He was taking the singles quite comfortably.

“The Indian fielding could have been just little bit sharper. But otherwise, it were the South Africans who won the game. I don’t think the Indians lost it, the South Africans won the game,” Gavaskar observed.

(Written with agency inputs)

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