India vs Afghanistan at Asia Cup: Furious Sunil Gavaskar slams team XI, Virat Kohli stoutly defends

Written by PTI | Mirpur | Updated: Mar 5 2014, 22:44pm hrs
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; captain Virat Kohli was not amused.

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," Sunil 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).

"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.

Sunil 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 Sunil 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.

Afghan batsmen find Jadeja, Ashwin too hot to handle

Spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Aswhin shared seven wickets between them to help India skittle out minnows Afghanistan for 159 in their inconsequential last league match of the Asia Cup, here today.

Sent into bat, only three Afghan batsmen managed double digit scores as India, who surprisingly fielded an unchanged squad for dead rubber, rode on the exploits of Jadeja (4/30) and Ashwin (3/31) to bowl out their less-formidable opponents in 45.2 overs at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.

After pacer Mohammed Shami gave India the first breakthrough in the form of Nawroj Mangal, it was a one-way traffic as Jadeja ripped apart the inexperienced Afghan batting line-up with his left-arm spinners in offie Ashwin's company.

Afghanistan's innings was centred around No 8 batsman Samiullah Shenwari, who scored a sensible 50 off 73 balls with the help of six boundaries and one six.

Shenwari's rearguard knock helped Afghanistan cross the 150-run mark, especially they were reduced to 95 for seven at one stage.

Shenwari shared 26 runs with No 10 batsman Shapoor Zadran and 22 for the last wicket with Dawlat Zadran to bring up his fifth ODI half-century and second in the tournament.

Apart from Shenwari only two others -- Noor Ali Zadran (31) and Mohammad Shahzad (22) -- could reach double figures in front of India's hostile spin attack.

Shenwari was the last wicket to fall, trapped in front of the wicket by Shami (2/50), who emerged as most expensive bowler for India conceeding 50 runs from his 7.2 overs.

Earlier asked to bat, Afghanistan started on a positive note as openers Noor Ali and Nawroj looked in no trouble against the Indian new ball duo of Bhuvenshwar Kumar and Shami.

Noor Ali looked attractive with his elegant drives. He also stepped out to Shami who looked jaded and seemed to have lost his bite conceding 23 runs from his first two overs.

Afghanistan were cruising along nicely at 30 for no loss from five overs when Nawroj played a Shami delivery on to the stumps while going for an expansive heave.

Afghanistan's inexperience cost them heavily as Jadeja came in the 13th over and took two wickets because of some poor shot selection.

Jadeja had Rahmat Shah (9) trapped in front of the wicket before dismissing the impressive Noor Ali, who threw his wicket away by pulling a short ball straight to Kohli.

In the next over, Jadeja dismissed Afghanistan's leading run-getter in the series, Asghar Stanikzai who also pulled a ball straight to Mishra to be dismissed for five.

It could have been a fourth wicket had Kohli not messed up a sitter of Najibullah Zardan but it did not hurt India too much as the bowlers were on a roll.

Scoreboard of the Asia Cup cricket match between India and Afghanistan at Shere Bangla National Stadium, here today.


Noor Ali Zadran c Kohli b Jadeja 31

Nawroz Mangal b Mohammed Shami 5

Rahmat Shah lbw b Jadeja 9

Asghar Stanikzai c Mishra b Jadeja 5

Najibullah Zadran c Binny b Ashwin 5

Mohammad Nabi c Karthik b Jadeja 6

Mohammad Shahzad lbw b Ashwin 22

Samiullah Shenwari lbw b Mohammed Shami 50

Mirwais Ashraf c Kohli b Mishra 9

Shapoor Zadran lbw b Ashwin 1

Dawlat Zadran not out 2

Extras (LB-2, WD-12) 14

Total (All out in 45.2 overs) 159

Fall of wickets: 1-30, 2-54, 3-55, 4-60, 5-64, 6-83, 7-95, 8-111, 9-137.

Bowling: B Kumar 8-1-25-0, Mohammed Shami 7.2-0 -50-2, A Mishra 10-1-21-1, R Jadeja 10-1-30-4, R Ashwin 10-3-31-3.