Yusuf Pathan, India's most destructive batsman in the current team comes in at No 7. And that has not gone down well with Baroda-based Kiran More, the former chairman of selectors.
Pathan did not get many opportunities during India's successful 2011 World Cup campaign in a star-studded batting order. But even in a second string outfit, he comes in too late for the liking of cricketing pundits. The ongoing West Indies series which does not feature big guns like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the best opportunity to give the Baroda man a push up the order. But he still bats at No 7 amidst a line-up of less experienced one-day players.
Pathan, a member of India's 2007 World T20-winning squad, batted at No 7 in the T20 International and first one-day international against West Indies, scoring 15 not out and 10 respectively.
"I am quite disappointed," emphasised More. "He should be batting up the order. A player of his class cannot be playing so low in the team that has so many youngsters. By now, Yusuf has rich experience in international cricket (52 ODIs and 20 T20 internationals)."
In Indian Premier League IV, Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir regularly had him at No 3 or No 5 and Pathan finished up as the fourth highest run-scorer for his team with 283 runs.
"By slotting him at No 7, the team management is not sending the right signal to Yusuf. Everyone deserves a promotion if they are good and this guy is a match-winner. It is disheartening to see the treatment meted out to Yusuf. After all, he is the future of Indian cricket," More added.
Pathan has enjoyed success at No 6 where he has scored 193 runs, including his highest ODI score of 123 not out in seven matches at 64.33. At No 7, his average drops down drastically to 32.71.
Prove your worth
Former India swing bowler Balwinder Singh Sandhu, who played a significant role in Pathan's career when he was coach at Baroda, said the exciting cricketer has to prove his worth at any batting position. "Wherever he bats, Yusuf will have to prove his mettle. Although I agree that he has the ability to bat up the order, it sometimes depends on how much the coach and captain believe in you," said the 1983 World Cup-winning team member.
Pathan's first coach, Mehendi Shaikh was confident of his ward's promotion. "The wickets in the West Indies are slow, so that is probably why he was sent at No 7. I am sure he will be promoted up the order soon," said Shaikh from Baroda.