Ajit Agarkar felt that the presence of the veteran duo in the middle order    AFP
Ajit Agarkar felt that the presence of the veteran duo in the middle order AFP

New Delhi: Former India pacer Ajit Agarkar on Tuesday expressed his reservations at having veteran batsman Yuvraj Singh and former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the same playing XI as India prepare their squad for the 2019 ICC cricket World Cup, in England and Wales. Agarkar felt that the presence of the veteran duo in the middle order, specially at the crucial No.4 and 5 positions during the just-concluded ICC Champions Trophy where India finished runners-up to Pakistan, strained the team’s playing combination. “I am not quite sure MS Dhoni and Yuvraj can both bat at 4 and 5,” Agarkar was quoted as saying by espncricinfo. Dravid: Selectors, management need to take call on Dhoni, Yuvraj’s future

“It is not because of the final [that I am saying this]; it is almost putting too much pressure on the top three to get the bulk of the runs. Maybe Yuvraj is better off batting lower down at this stage than at No. 4, where he can go and bat freely.” Questioning the logic behind picking a specialist batsman in Kedar Jadhav at No.6, the former Mumbai skipper said it was obvious because the management wasn’t sure whether the No.4 and 5 could lift the side in a crisis situation.

“Four and five are pretty evident. Virat Kohli played an extra sixth batsman you have a Hardik Pandya with that kind of hitting ability, Ravindra Jadeja can bat, Ravichandran Ashwin can bat, Bhuvneshwar Kumar can bat you still play that sixth batsman as an insurance because you are not quite sure of your four and five,” he said. “They have been Indian greats MS and Yuvraj but whether they fit in at four and five long term, or looking at 2019 World Cup, is something Virat Kohli will have to answer.”

“Those are such key spots that you don’t want to then put your team under pressure, or top order under pressure, and then pick a batsman at No. 6 for insurance. I am glad they have picked Rishabh Pant for the West Indies [tour],” he added. The Indian squad for the Champions Trophy, sans opener Rohit Sharma and pacer Jasprit Bumrah will travel to the West Indies for a limited overs series, starting with the first One-day International on June 23. Sharma and Bumrah were replaced by young Rishabh Pant and left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav for the Caribbean tour, where India will play five ODIs and a T20 International.