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Wasim Jaffer urges India to stick with openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma

Shikhar Dhawan endured a wretched time in the ODI's in New Zealand © Getty Images
Shikhar Dhawan endured a wretched time in the ODIs in New Zealand © Getty Images

Mumbai: Jan 31, 2014

Former Test batsman Wasim Jaffer expressed his disappointment at the way India openers performed in the last few overseas tours but said the team should stick to the same combination of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma.

“The kind of start Shikhar and Rohit provided before the start of South Africa series, I don’t think people would have even thought about (having different openers for different formats). But I am sure, the conditions were different,” Jaffer said when asked whether India should have different openers for different formats.

“I am disappointed the way they have performed but I feel they should be given more opportunities, because in three or four innings, nobody becomes a good player or a bad player. We should stick to the players who are talented,” the 35-year-old former India opener said.

Jaffer was speaking to reporters at the announcement of Petroleum Sports Promotion Board Inter-Unit tournament, hosted by Indian Oil.

In the One Day International (ODI) series in New Zealand which, Sharma scored 145 runs in five matches, while his partner Dhawan managed only 81 in four matches.

Jaffer said that the Indian team could have tried Ajinkya Rahane as another opener. ”Rohit has got a double hundred, a few ODIs back and also a 79 in the previous game, so it is unfair (to ask someone to replace him as an opener). Ajinkya has opened all his life so probably that is an area they could have looked at, but (captain Mahendra Singh) Dhoni is far intelligent than me, so he must be thinking,” he said.

After a good performance in South Africa, Rahane failed with the bat in the New Zealand ODI series with just 51 runs from five matches and Jaffer said the 25-year-old would have been disappointed.

“He got an opportunity to perform, he has had the overs to bat. It is not that he is coming in the last 10 to 15 overs so I am sure he must be disappointed,” said Jaffer.

The veteran Mumbai batsman said that Cheteshwar Pujara should also be considered for the ODI squad and would fare well at the number three or four slot.

“A Test player can click in other formats. Many players perform well in T20 but find it tough in Test cricket but Pujara, the way he has performed in domestic tournaments, I think in he will fit very well in number three or number four in ODI. I am sure selectors will look into it,” said Jaffer.

Despite India’s 0-4 drubbing in the ODIs, Jaffer expressed confidence that the team would do well in the two-match Test series against New Zealand.

“The kind of start we had got against Australia and West Indies did not happen. Probably you can point our fast bowling has not been at the best. These are things you can say, but it is easier said than done. Obviously they are trying their best. We were number one side, so obviously it must have hurt them. We will come hard the Test series,” he said.

The players haven’t performed. Dhoni has single-handedly came close to winning the games. He has been doing that for a lot of years. He has given his all but other players need to step up. I am sure they will do. They must have got hurt after losing because last time we went there, we won the Test and ODI series. We had a lot different team then. Looking forward to Test series. Hopefully, we will win that,” he added.

India has had a poor track record in overseas tours and Jaffer said the team would look to improve it.

“The last few tours have not gone really well but I am sure all players involved, they want to correct that. These two Test matches in New Zealand and probably the biggest test would be the England tour and then after that the Australia tour. From a player’s perspective, those are the tours you look to score runs . These are the tours when you score runs, you get noticed, specially as a Test batsman,” he said.

Jaffer said it is unfair to criticise coach Duncan Fletcher for the team’s losses.

“The coach doesn’t go and play there. To pinpoint that we are losing because of the coach is unfair. You can say his ideas might not be working and things like that but a coach can only give ideas and the players can win or lose for you.

“You could have the best of coaches for India but the players need to perform. Probably at that level you need a man management kind of a person than a coach because there are not much technical issues. We had seen that Gary Kirsten was much better at man-managing rather than coaching. Those are the things you require at that level,” he said.

 

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