Legendary Indian opener, Sunil Gavaskar, has come out hard on Indian team selection after Day 1 of the second Test at Visakhapatnam. He criticised the exclusion of Amit Mishra, who was dropped after his poor show in the first Test in favour of Jayant Yadav.
India's spinners had been largely ineffective on a batting belter at Rajkot in the first Test and Gavaskar feels that Mishra was given a raw deal. Mishra, who had three wickets in the first Test was replaced by Jayant Yadav, who was handed a debut in Vizag.
Gavaskar said in a statement to NDTV at the end of Day 1, "It's surprising that Amit Mishra has been dropped. I think he has been made a scapegoat for India's failure to bowl out England in the 1st Test in Rajkot."
The former opener was, however, all praise for Pujara and Kohli, who shared a 226 run stand on Day 1 and compiled individual centuries. India had been in a spot of bother after Anderson and Broad bowled a probing spell to dismiss the openers. But the middle order duo took India to a commanding position of 317/4 at the end of the day.
"Virat Kohli puts high-price on his wickets. He has the hunger for hundreds. And it's not just his progress as a batsman, but his progress as a person has been phenomenal as well. He is a wonderful role model," said Gavaskar.
Gavaskar also appreciated the transformation Pujara had undergone after coming back into the Test side. He also hoped IPL teams would start to pick Pujara after the batsman showed his wide array of strokes in the two centuries he has made this series.
But it was Kohli that really awed the former opener. His ability to convert 100s into big ones has impressed Gavaskar. Kohli has 14 Test hundreds as against 13 half centuries and has scored two double hundreds since being appointed the skipper of the national Test team.
Speaking of the stats, Gavaskar said, "That is an outstanding statistic. It tells you his hunger for hundred. In the last six months, he has got two double hundreds and I am pretty confident that he will score a couple more before the end of the series. Virat is hungry for big 100s."
Virat's transformation from a brash, aggressive youth to a mature personality has also impressed the former batsman, who once held the record for the most tons in Test cricket. While Gavaskar admitted that Kohli was pretty expressive on the field, he was quick to point out the kind of respect he has for senior players and the progress he has made as a player and captain.
Kohli has a terrific record at Visakhapatnam in all forms of the game. His scores on the ground read 118, 117, 99, 65 and 151*. The last one could well turn into another double hundred given the confidence and form the skipper is on the right now.