Team India started off their first assignment of 2014 with a 24-run loss to New Zealand in the first of the five one-dayers at Napier. With the Indian openers failing to come to terms with the fast, bouncy and seaming conditions, and most of the Indian bowlers unable to restrict the opposition batting during the middle overs, former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar feels India may well want to look at Stuart Binny as a handy inclusion in the playing XI for the second ODI at Hamilton. (Match report)
Speaking to NDTV from Napier after the match, Gavaskar feels playing an extra seamer instead of two frontline spinners is a more sensible option for MS Dhoni and Co.
"India will have to look at Stuart Binny coming in to the team. He will add to the fielding along with contributing with both bat and ball. On these pitches, his kind of seam up bowling will be a good idea. Going in with two spinners on seaming pitches is not exactly going to help," Gavaskar said. (Highlights)
The former batting great says the Karnataka all-rounder is a good finisher with the bat and his skills lower down the order will help Dhoni, who is hampered by the misfiring Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin at No.7 and 8, respectively. (Pics)
"Binny has shown in the limited overs format, as well as in the IPL that he is a good finisher, so his inclusion will be good. Binny should replace either R Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja but it will tough call for the team management on who sits out. After losing the first game, India must look to strengthen their lower order especially when Jadeja and Ashwin are not firing. With Binny coming in to bat at No.7, India may well get that balance right," he said.
After from Virat Kohli's solid 123, the other four Indian batsmen in the top-5 just contributed 60 and Gavaskar feels India's loss was a result of lack of good partnerships at the top of the order.
"Misfiring batting will always be a problem for India, especially when you are chasing like near 300 runs. You need one substantial partnership like a 100-run stand or close to it right at the top so it was no surprise that India went down by 24 runs, which is a big margin in ODI cricket," he added.
Gavaskar also advised the other Indian batsmen to learn Kohli's style of batting. Kohli hammered his 18th ODI ton and incidentally his first in a losing cause while chasing.
"Kohli has been sublime in one-day cricket. The way he builds his innings is something that the other batsmen can learn. He does not go thrashing at the ball from the beginning and plays in the V and looks for big sixes after getting well set. He has toned down his aggression in terms of replying back to the bowler. Now he lets his bat do all the talking," he said.
On Indian bowling, Gavaskar says that Ishant Sharma continues to be the weak link in the ODI attack.
"Bhuvneshwar and Shami bowled well today but Ishant continues to be the problem because unfortunately he does not seem to be learning the yorker. On the other hand, in the end overs Bhuvneshwar and Shami used the Yorker to good effect and that stopped the Kiwis from registering over 300 runs on board."
India's next match against New Zealand is at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Wednesday.