India's fielding and bowling basics in Asia Cup hit for a six, laments Sunil Gavaskar
India have to beat Pakistan on Sunday to improve their chance for a spot in the Asia Cup final on March 8. Sri Lanka, after their back-to-back wins against Pakistan and India, look all set to play the grand finale.
Sunil Gavaskar feels India can ill afford to make the basic errors that Virat Kohli's team made against Sri Lanka in Fatullah, Bangladesh on Friday night. India dropped catches, missed a crucial stumping chance and more importantly, came close to serious injury after players collided in their attempt to grab skiers. India lost a close match against Sri Lanka by two wickets on Friday night and must beat Pakistan on Sunday to improve their chance of playing the Asia Cup final on March 8. (Match report | Highlights | Scorecard | Pics)
Chasing 265 for a win, Sri Lanka rode a brilliant under-pressure century (103 off 84 balls) by Kumar Sangakkara and a pugnacious 64 by Kusal Perera to steal India's thunder in a game where fortunes fluctuated. India's performance was riddled with errors as the pacers bowled juicy full tosses in their attempt to bowl yorkers in the crucial death overs. "In recent times, India have rarely had all their four bowlers bowling well together. If you can't bowl the yorkers in the death overs, you should not be in the team," said Sunil Gavaskar in an exclusive chat with NDTV on Friday night. (Also read: Kohli blames dew after loss)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami gave away 126 runs in less than 20 overs between them. Shami took three wickets but his 81 runs undid all the good work he did with the semi-new ball. The fielders failed to back the bowlers, dropping at least three catches and also coming close to serious injury. Shikhar Dhawan ran into an advancing Ajinkya Rahane as Perera miscued Shami to point when on seven. The catch was dropped and the ball trickled over the ropes but Dhawan and Rahane, two of India's batting pillars, avoided serious injury. (Stats)
"The basics of the game unfortunately are not being followed. If international cricketers don't know how to attempt a high catch and call out to each other and say 'mine' loud and clear, then something is wrong. The coaches teach you these basic things like dragging your bat and how to take high catches," Gavaskar said, adding that more than dropping catches, players ran the risk of major injuries.
Sangakkara was lucky to escape a stumping chance when on 30. Dinesh Karthik failed to remove the bails after Ravindra Jadeja caught the Sri Lankan left-hander out of his crease. It was perhaps the costliest mistake the Indians made. "In a close game, it is always the team which fields better that comes out on top," said Gavaskar. (Also read: Misbah ups the ante ahead of Sunday's India-Pak derby)
Gavaskar said India needed to bat smarter. Rohit Sharma's lean form was a cause for concern and Gavaskar felt the opening batsman needed some counseling. "He is immensely talented and someone should just talk to him and relax him. May be, Kohli should do this," said Gavaskar.
Gavaskar hoped that India will make amends in the needle clash with Pakistan on Sunday. "The fact that they can make the final if they beat Pakistan will motivate the Indians," said the former Little Master, who is a commentating on the tournament in Bangladesh.