I would have definitely played Gambhir as an opener: Akram

Former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram feels that Gautam Gambhir should get back to opening the innings for India instead of batting at the number three position.

Updated: October 15, 2011 18:34 IST
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New Delhi: Former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram feels that Gautam Gambhir should get back to opening the innings for India instead of batting at the number three position.

With the Indian team management preferring to go with Ajinkya Rahane and Parthiv Patel up the order after their decent outings in England, regular opener Gambhir was left with no option but to bat at number three in the first ODI against England in Hyderabad on Friday, but Akram firmly believed that the Delhi left-hander should return to his usual position.

"I think the team management sees that Gambhir's future in the playing XI is at number three, but I would have definitely played him as an opener."

"As a bowler you would enjoy bowling to a hit-and-miss kind of batsman because you know sooner rather than later you will be able to get the better of him. But Gambhir is one player who plays proper strokes and with his ability he can win you matches on his own if he bats the 50 overs," Akram said.

Despite fielding a rookie attack, India managed a thumping 126-run win over England, leaving the legendary bowler impressed.

"Although the wicket was helpful, the inexperienced India bowlers bowled really well. (Ravichandran) Ashwin is hard to hit in such conditions. I do not see him lose his ODI spot in the days to come. Umesh (Yadav), I have said repeatedly, the guy has got pace and he runs in well. He has a very good yorker too. He has got a bright future for India," Akram said.

"It is now time India uses this set of bowlers with Varun Aaron in the mix as well. We saw the combination in England got thrashed so the selectors have made the correct decision to play this bunch of bowlers now," the 45-year old told ESPN Mobile.

Impressed with India's massive win, their second biggest over England in terms of runs, Akram said the home team is only going to get better.

"India will only get better and better with each game. They have announced a strong comeback with this win. Even though the big players were missing, they looked like a team that gels well. Everything was working for them, they looked very good yesterday, the bowling changes, their effort on the field, everybody chipped in and they looked a confident side," he observed.

Akram, however, hinted that a much sporty wicket at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium could have made the contest more even.

"For such a big match, there should have been a flat wicket but it was a little bit up and down. We could see that when Kevin Pietersen was playing and missing the ball on a number of occasions. But hats off to (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni and Suresh Raina for lifting India from a tricky 120 for four to 300. All credit should go to India who were much better in all departments of the game," he said.

After the pounding they got in the first one-dayer and in the absence of bowling spearheads James Anderson and Stuart Broad, Akram felt that it will be tough for England to make a comeback in the series.

"England will definitely miss Anderson and Broad because those guys were crucial to England's dominance at home. In the sub-continent the bowlers who have not played here before will struggle. England's true test was always going to be in India and if their bowlers continue to give away 300 runs, I do not think India will give them a chance," Akram concluded.

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