After India lost the three-match ODI series on Tuesday, former captain Saurav Ganguly slammed the management for constant experimentation in the middle-order and said that MS Dhoni must do more to continue playing.
England beat India by eight wickets to hand Virat Kohli his first bilateral series defeat as a captain. Speaking after India’s loss at Leeds, Ganguly said that India is not looking after KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane which is hurting the ‘top-heavy’ side.
“India are too top heavy at the moment. If your top-order doesn’t get runs, then you are struggling. It is a big issue. You have to have quality like England have,” said Ganguly. Slamming the management for dropping Rahul from the third ODI squad, Ganguly said, “Eyes closed, I will have Rahul at four. Your top four have to be the best players and you got to persist with them. Go and speak to Rahul and say ‘we will give you 15 games’. Just go and play.”
“They are not giving enough opportunities at the moment. Rahul got the fantastic hundred at Manchester and now he was dropped. You won’t be able to produce players like that. Same for Rahane. These are your two best batsmen. You have to have solid number four and five. Then you decide between Dinesh Karthik or MS Dhoni at six and Hardik Pandya at seven,” he added.
Calling Rahane and Rahul ‘best batsmen’, Ganguly said that playing either of the two at four will take off pressure from Rohit and Kohli. “I think two of your best batsmen are not being looked after properly. I am not saying it is deliberate but it is my opinion either of the two have to be played at four because it is too much of a pressure, especially on Rohit and Virat Kohli. In South Africa, India did well because Kohli got three hundreds. If he doesn’t get a hundred, you will have issues.”
Ganguly also felt that MS Dhoni has to give a better performance if he wants to play in the 2019 World Cup. “If Dhoni has got to play then he has got to get in a position where he keeps hitting. If it is 24-25 overs and he has got to build an innings, he is struggling at the moment. He may turn it around as he has been a great player for India but at the present he is not turning it around enough and this has been going on for more than an year,” said Ganguly.
“With all due respect, I think there are better players around. He has played for a long period of time. He has got runs in ODIs, not many overseas, but India need to look ahead,” Ganguly added.