Is Team India worried of Pujara, Pandey doing well, wonders Gavaskar

Mirpur: Sunil Gavaskar today slammed the Indian team management for fielding an unchanged XI in the dead rubber against Afghanistan and wondered whether the ‘fear’ of bench players succeeding over current favourites has prompted it to play the same team.

Despite India being out of contention for a berth in the final of the ongoing Asia Cup, middle-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara and pacer Ishwar Pandey were not included in the team for the inconsequential match today. "The only thing that comes to my mind is that there is that worry and there's probably a fear that if these guys do well, what happens to our favourites in the team," Gavaskar told 'Star Sports'. "This is what breeds complacency, guys know, kuch bhi karoon, team main hoon (whatever I do, I'm in the team).

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara

"Are you worried that Cheteshwar Pujara will score runs so that your favourites who are not consistent might have to make way? Are you worried that Ishwar Pandey will pick wickets, and again some of your favourite bowlers might not be certain of a place in the team, what are you worried about?," the former Indian captain asked.

Gavaskar said it was hard to comprehend the Indian team's decision. "Very hard to understand, to be honest with you, it's baffling," said Gavaskar. "Some of the players have been playing non-stop, they need a bit of a break before the World Twenty20 starts, the second thing is if you are not going to give the reserve players a chance, then when are they going to play," he said.

Pandey has been a part of the ODI squad for the recent New Zealand tour and the Asia Cup, but hasn't got a chance to play in either series, while Pujara failed to add to the two ODI caps he had earned in the low-profile Zimbabwe series last year despite India's listless performances.

At the toss today, stand-in-skipper Virat Kohli defended the decision of playing an unchanged team, saying: "It is important the team gets confidence from playing one unit, you have to be patient with this side. "We are in a transition phase as far as one-dayers are concerned, we have shown great fight in this tournament, people have to be patient with us, we surely have the talent, but we will have to wait for the experience to come," he said.

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  • SIA05-Mar-2014

    Surely Pujara should have been included in playing XI against Pakistan to open the innings with Dhawan. Rohit cannot play as an opener inspite of scoring a double century against West Indies; he is very clumsy defending against balls coming above hip high. Kholi can still hold is one down slot without fear.

  • padma05-Mar-2014

    Could not agree more with Gavaskar , at least he has the courage to tell the truth where india is lagging behind you don't need to be a genious to understand he is right, why is India always afraid to try out other players gives them an opportunity too, non performers must be removed what do they need to know that its India:s reputation is at stake the country needs to win forget your personal agendas

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