‘Tactical blunder’: Gambhir slams Kohli’s tactics, says no captain would give Bumrah a two-over opening spell

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Updated: November 30, 2020 3:24 PM

India vs Australia: Gautam Gambhir felt Virat Kohli should have given his mainstay fast bowlers – Jasprit Bumrah and Mohd Shami – at least five over spells upfront to try and pick wickets early.

India's Virat Kohli walks from the field after he was dismissed for 89 runs during the one day international cricket match between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Australia. (AP Photo)

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir has come down hard on Team India skipper Virat Kohli after the Indian team lost the second ODI of the three-match series in Sydney on Sunday handing hosts Australia an unassailable 2-0 lead. Gambhir felt that Kohli made a tactical blunder by giving his pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah only a two-over spell in the series-conceding ODI. He also said that the manner in which Australian captain Aaron Finch managed pacer Josh Hazelwood’s spells made a major difference between the two bowling attacks.

On ESPNCricinfo’s ‘Match Day Hindi’ program Gambhir said that he found it difficult to comprehend that a bowler of Bumrah’s calibre would be given only a two-over spell upfront. Gambhir, in his usual blunt manner, said that it wasn’t a ‘tactical mistake but a tactical blunder’.

The former Kolkata Knight Riders captain felt that Kohli should have given his mainstay fast bowlers – Jasprit Bumrah and Mohd Shami – at least five over spells upfront to try and pick wickets early. “I don’t think there is an captain in world cricket who would give Jasprit Bumrah only two overs with the new ball,” Gambhir said.

With the Aussie top three – Aaron Finch, David Warner and Smith Smith – hitting form at the same time, Gambhir said that of all the Indian bowlers Bumrah had the best chance of picking their wickets. It was unfair to give Bumrah just two overs upfront and then expect him to pick wickets with a comparatively older ball, Gambhir avered, adding, “He (Bumrah) is human too”.

In contrast, Gambhir said, Aussie skipper Finch bowled Hazelwood in six and five over spells upfront in the first and second ODI respectively.

Also, the manner in which Finch utilised his sixth bowling option (Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell in game one, and Moises Henriques and Maxwell in the second ODI) tilted the balance in the favour of the ‘Kangaroos’. The sixth bowling option came good for Finch when his tearaway fast bowler Mitchell Starc had an off day and went for runs.

India play Australia in the final ODI of the series on Wednesday at the Manuka Oval in Canberra.

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