Openers ruined India in New Zealand, says Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar blamed the Indian openers who failed to give their side a good start on numerous occasions and recommended a 'horses-for-courses' policy if they are to defend their World Cup title Down Under next year.

Updated: January 31, 2014 21:59 IST
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Following India's 87-run loss in the fifth and final ODI against New Zealand in Wellington on Friday, former India skipper and NDTV expert Sunil Gavaskar lamented Indian openers' inability to provide good starts as one of the top reasons for India's 4-0 rout. Among other factors, Gavaskar slammed the tour management's selection policies for the defeat. (Match report)

Not long ago, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team failed to create an impact in South Africa and the poor performances have continued in New Zealand. While a lot of blame has been put on the India's listless bowling performances, Gavaskar pointed out that India's famed batting equally ruined them in New Zealand. (Highlights)

"India have not got off to a start at all. In South Africa and in New Zealand, we have not got off to a start of say 60-70 runs to make it easy for the batsmen to follow. India need to look into that aspect. India need to look at the combination," Gavaskar told NDTV from Wellington on Friday.

With the World Cup just a year away, India's big task of defending their title has been dealt a severe blow as they failed to register a single win in the ODI series against the Kiwis. To arrest that slide, Gavaskar felt the tour management, led by Dhoni, failed to think out of the box. It was simply too rigid.

"You have to test all the talent available before World Cup. Cannot rule out anybody. There has to be competition for places," Gavaskar said.

Citing the example of Brad Hodge's recent selection in Australia's T20 side, Gavaskar said, "Age doesn't matter. We need to have a horses-for-courses policy."

Gavaskar also stressed on the fact that players who have failed to perform need to make way for other players. "Someone out of form should be left out. If tried and tested players are not delivering, then think out of the box. Experience can't be everything. There must be an open mind."

Talking about Amit Mishra, who was taken to New Zealand but had to warm the bench throughout, Gavaskar said he was surprised by his non-selection.

Gavaskar also said, "I was surprised that Mohammed Shami was not given a break in the final ODI. He has been India's best and has played almost every single game in the last two to three months. With the Test series just a week away, a break would have been good for him and would have given India a chance to try someone new like Ishwar Pandey."

Gavaskar was also quick to rubbish the idea that being Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings teammates had given the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja a longer rope in terms of team selection.

India will now play two Tests against New Zealand, starting on February 6 at Auckland.

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