London: Fast bowling legends Wasim Akram and Ian Botham criticised Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to open the bowling with RP Singh during the morning session of the fourth and final Test here at The Oval yesterday. RP's first over saw five gentle looseners go down the leg side, inviting the wrath of cricket pundits here. (Also Read: RP Singh's selection leaves Gavaskar baffled)
While Botham called it 'the worst first over he had ever seen in a Test match', Akram said that Zaheer Khan's replacement (RP) should have reached UK soon after the Lord's Test. "This was quite easily the worst first over I have ever seen in a Test match. You can't bowl outside leg-stump to start a Test match when you are three-nil down in the series. Why is Munaf Patel on this tour? He should have played this game since he played a Test in the West Indies," Botham told MiD DAY during the rain-interruption in the post-lunch session. (Also Read: Selection of ‘slow’ RP Singh shocks everyone)
Akram, who had flown back to Pakistan between the second and fourth Tests, was particularly disappointed with S Sreesanth. "Sorry, but going by the first session, a pathetic Test match awaits Sreesanth. He just refuses to give his best. This was a time for him to grab his opportunity and cement his place in the side. For a guy with six years of international experience, he must learn how to bowl in such conditions," Akram told MiD DAY. "Sreesanth bowled well in just one spell in Nottingham. That extraordinary art in his bowling is missing, something is terribly wrong," feared Akram.
The former Pakistan captain further attacked India for entrusting the new ball with RP.
"RP hasn't even played first-class cricket since January. Will you just throw him into a Test match and hand him the new ball? It's quite evident that he hasn't played a Test match since January. I don't think the Indian bowlers are in the best shape," said Akram.