Former India pacer Venkatesh Prasad has questioned the inclusion of middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer in India’s first T20I against the West Indies on Friday, where the visitors won by 68 runs.
In the T20I series opener, the Indian team management chose to play Iyer at number three. But Iyer, who batted at number three in the preceding ODI series, was out for a four-ball duck to left-arm pacer Obed McCoy.
“Some of the selection calls keeping the upcoming World T20 in mind are worth pondering. Shreyas Iyer in T20 cricket when you have Sanju Samson, Hooda and Ishan Kishan in the team is bizarre. With Virat, Rohit and Rahul definite starters, need to work on getting (the) right balance," wrote Prasad on his official Twitter account.
A fan wrote to him that Iyer has done good in the past and is just unlucky these days. Prasad replied to the fan saying, “He is good in 50-over cricket. In T20 cricket, there are better players as of now who can get going from the word go. Shreyas will have to work hard on his skills for T20."
Iyer’s inclusion in the first T20I was also questioned by former India batter and ex-chairman of the senior selection committee Kris Srikkanth, who wanted all-rounder Deepak Hooda to be at number three instead.
“Where is Hooda? He did well in T20Is, he did well in ODIs as well. He is the guy who should be there. In T20 cricket you need to understand that you need all-rounders. Batting all-rounders, bowling all-rounders, so more the all-rounders better for you," said Srikkanth on series streaming site FanCode.
Former India spinner Pragyan Ojha, who was part of the same panel, tried to defend the move. “Rahul (Dravid) believes that if a player performed for you first then play him and back him. Then you go ahead with the other options."
Srikkanth immediately stopped Ojha midway in his explanation and said, “Rahul Dravid ka soch humko nehi chaiye. Aapka soch chaiye. Abhi chaiye. Abhi do. (Don’t want the thinking of Rahul Dravid. Need your reasoning. Give it right now)."
Ojha then replied, “Hooda toh hona chaiye (Hooda should have been there. Obviously Hooda."
“Bas. Khatam (okay, it’s over)," responded Srikkanth.
With a 1-0 lead in the five-match series, India and West Indies will play the next two matches at Basseterre, St Kitts on Monday and Tuesday.