Former India skipper, Sunil Gavaskar has shared his disappointment at India’s decision to send Axar Patel ahead of Dinesh Karthik during the 2nd T20I against South Africa on Sunday, June 12. Gavaskar said, sometimes, the teams give too much importance is being attached to the ‘finisher’ tag and that an experienced player like Karthik should’ve been sent earlier in the innings, especially when the team needs someone to consolidate the innings.
India, on Sunday, sent Axar Patel at No. 6 ahead of Dinesh Karthik after the wicket of Hardik Pandya in the 13th over when the score was reading 90 for 4. However, Axar failed to get the scoreboard moving in his partnership with Shreyas Iyer, who departed for 40 off 35 balls. Dinesh Karthik, who walked into bat in the 14th over, made 30 from 21 balls, which included 2 sixes in the final over.
During a chat on Star Sports, Sunil Gavaskar said, “Sometimes there are these labels like ‘finisher’. And when you talk about a finisher you think he will come to bat only after the 15th over. He can’t come in the 12th or the 13th over. Actually, if they had been sent earlier, because they have the ability to work things around, they don’t necessarily have to hit sixes from the time they come in.”
He further added, “The fact that when they get to the batting area and work the ball around, they get the feel of the wicket, and they can bat accordingly in the last 4-5 overs.”
India’ only managed to reach the total of 148, which was not enough as South Africa rode on a 45-ball 81 from Heinrich Klaassen to gun down the total in just 18.1 overs. The visitors went 2-0 up in the 5-match series as they had chased down 212 to win the first T20I in New Delhi by 7 wickets last week.
Meanwhile, former South Africa captain Graeme Smith was also baffled by India’s decision to send Axar ahead of Karthik, backing Gavaskar’s thoughts.
Graeme Smith said, “I don’t understand. When Karthik is one of the most experienced cricketers in India. Look at how many games he has played for India. Never mind the IPL. How can you send Axar Patel ahead (of) him? This is mind-blowing.”
India and South Africa will meet in the 3rd T20I on Tuesday in Visakhapatnam.