Raising concerns over India’s selected XI for the all-important fifth and final Test against England, veteran batsman VVS Laxman said that he would have opted for Rohit Sharma instead of Stuart Binny in the crucial game.
“Little surprised at Binny’s inclusion. The reason given for his inclusion is that he can also bowl a few overs. But for me what is more important is playing a specialist batsman, because it’s going to be a high-scoring game, I believe,” said Laxman in an ESPNcricinfo video show ‘Match Point’.
The Indian think-tank had tested Binny in the first couple of games but the all-rounder was hardly utilised as a medium-pacer before being replaced in the next two Tests.
India did win the second Test at Lord’s but lost at Southampton by 266 runs and the margin of defeat grew bigger at Old Trafford, with England taking an unassailable 2-1 lead.
“The Indian batsmen are already under tremendous pressure. And it’s important that they post a big first innings score. So I have would have definitely gone with Rohit Sharma because what Binny can give is that 15 overs. And if the ball starts turning later on Rohit or even Murali Vijay can do that job for MS Dhoni,” said Laxman.
Dhoni’s Test leadership has been under tremendous scrutiny as many on and off field changes haven’t worked for the visitors and the pressure is clearly showing in the results and Laxman insists that Binny-like changes still surprise one and all.
“But little surprised because it’s a crucial game, pressure situation like this I would have gone for six specialist batsman and four wicket-taking bowlers and a specialist wicketkeeper in Dhoni,” Laxman added.
Another major concern for India has been their top-order, which has faltered time and again in seaming conditions.
Former England spinner Ashley Giles also advises Dhoni and company to pull up their socks on the batting front.
“The concern is the depth in their batting. I am not surprised that Ravindra Jadeja has been left out. I would want four seamers and a spinner. There is of course a concern that if they went that route then Ashwin at 7 and Kumar at 8 and then there are three bunnies from 9 to 11.
It’s a long tail to defend. So the focus and emphasis should be on the top-order. One, two, three, four one of those guys should get a big score,” said Giles.