Mohali: Shikhar Dhawan might have had a nightmarish time with the bat in the ongoing first cricket Test against South Africa, but former India captain Sunil Gavaskar on Friday came in support of the opener, saying going by his record the left-hander deserves another chance.
Shikhar has been struggling for runs of late and was dismissed for ducks in both the innings of the Mohali Test. Asked whether he should be given a break, Gavaskar said, "It's a tough call but when you look at his Test record in the previous two Test matches he got a hundred."
"He struggled in the ODIs and then got a half-century in the final ODI and I think may be he deserves another Test because once again if you leave him you have two right-handers at the crease. I would certainly want to give Shikhar Dhawan another chance," he said.
Gavaskar feels going by the way the pitch is behaving anything close to 300 would be a winning score for India. "I think ideally anything close to 300 but the way the pitch is behaving and the ball is turning anything like 200 would also be good enough. But I think closer to 300 would be pretty much difficult for the South Africans to chase," he said.
After eking out a narrow 17-run lead, courtesy Ravichandran Ashwin's impressive figures of 5-51, India were 125 for two in their second innings at stumps on day two with Cheteshwar Pujara (63) and Virat Kohli (11) at the crease. The hosts have stretched their lead to 142 runs.
Gavaskar also had words of advise for Indian spinners and said if they heed to it then on this surface they can bowl out South Africa for even a lesser score than 184, their first innings total
"On this surface it was exactly what the Indian team wanted. They have got the kind of pitch they wanted so no surprise at all that they spinners have taken all 10 wickets.
"My honest advise to the bowlers is to keep doing the same and pitch the ball further up and you will probably get South Africa out for less than what you got them out for in the first innings," he said. He also lauded India skipper Virat Kohli's decision to come out to bat after Murali Vijay's dismissal instead of sending a night watchman with just little over six overs remaining in the day.
"Certainly it's a very positive move because I have always felt that a batsman who is better equipped should be coming in rather than sacrificing somebody who is batting at No. 8, 9 and 10. That certainly shows the confidence he (Kohli) has in his own abilities," Gavsakar said.