Sanjay Manjrekar has advised India to make four changes ahead of their dead rubber third and final ODI against South Africa on Friday. The KL Rahul-led side lost the first match by 31 runs and followed it with a seven-wicket defeat in the second.
Manjrekar wants the visitors' top-scorer so far, Shikhar Dhawan, to be rested. The former cricketer said India should open with all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer, with Suryakumar Yadav coming into the struggling middle order. He also called for out-of-form Bhuvneshwar Kumar to make way for 29-year-old pacer Deepak Chahar.
While speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Manjrekar explained:
"In batting, Suryakumar Yadav should be included. We've seen Shikhar Dhawan, he's a ready-made option for big matches and has shown good form too. So you can rest him and open with Venkatesh Iyer to fit Suryakumar Yadav in the middle-order. Deepak Chahar should come in place for Bhuvneshwar Kumar. I saw him in Sri Lanka, he bowled really well so you should test him."
Despite making his name as an opener in IPL 2021, Venkatesh Iyer batted at no.6 in the first two ODIs, scoring 2 (7) and 22 (33). He's being seen as a potential replacement for Hardik Pandya in that position.
Meanwhile, one of the stars of recent IPL seasons, Suryakumar Yadav made his ODI debut in July against Sri Lanka and scored 124 runs from three games at an average of 64. He was replaced by Shreyas Iyer in this series.
Manjrekar also put up either Prasidh Krishna or Mohammed Siraj as options to replace Jasprit Bumrah, who might need some rest after playing all five matches on the tour so far. He also batted for Jayant Yadav to play his second ODI in place of Ravichandran Ashwin, who was costly and wicketless in the last match.
"If you want to give Jasprit Bumrah some rest then you can look towards Prasidh Krishna and Mohammed Siraj. And Jayant Yadav in place of Ashwin. There will be a comparison between Ashwin and Jayant Yadav's 10 overs but Jayant Yadav will also bring some batting."
A bowling all-rounder like Ashwin, Jayant Yadav made his ODI debut back in 2016. He scored a run and picked up a wicket in that match. He's also played in 19 IPL matches, collecting eight wickets at an economy rate of 6.87 and 40 scoring runs at an average of 10.
Manjrekar also criticized the Men in Blue for missing a "golden opportunity" by not trying out the youngsters from the first game itself. He argued:
"They should look at all these changes because I feel India has missed a golden opportunity by not using this series to test the upcoming talent."
"The World Cup Super League points are not being counted in this One-Day series. So they should have given the upcoming players a chance from the first match itself but they did the exact opposite and still lost. Whether they win or lose in the last match they have already lost the series. If they can give two or three players a chance and one or two can shine then it will be brilliant for Indian cricket."
The third ODI will kick off at 2:00 pm IST at Cape Town's Newlands Cricket Ground on Sunday.