Former India opener Virender Sehwag has slammed Team India for allegedly showing "partiality" in setting selection parameters for batsmen and bowlers.
Sehwag on Tuesday claimed that Virat Kohli and co. backed promising batters for 4-5 matches but didn't do the same for bowlers.
Virender Sehwag's criticism comes against the backdrop of India's ongoing first ODI against England. KL Rahul, who fluffed in the first four T20Is before getting dropped for the fifth, has made it to the ODI XI as a wicketkeeper-batsman.
However, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who got the ax after the third T20I has failed to make it to the team. Kuldeep Yadav is playing in his place while debutant Krunal Pandya is the other spin bowling option.
Interacting with Cricbuzz, Virender Sehwag compared the cases of Rahul and Chahal to suggest that it was unfair on the latter to get excluded from the squad after only a handful of bad games.
"You snub bowlers after one game, but you gave 4 matches to KL Rahul then sat him out in the 5th game. So, if you give bowlers that many chances there will be poor games for them too. If this was [Jasprit] Bumrah and he had 4 moderate outings, will you have thought to exclude Bumrah as well? No, you would have said 'he's a good bowler, he will make a comeback.' Yuzvendra Chahal is your top T20 bowler, he gives you wickets, and he got 2-3 bad games and now is out of the team. One is a top bowler in ICC rankings and other is the top batter, so why partiality in them? I don't understand this concept," said Virender Sehwag.
Yuzvendra Chahal had an ordinary T20I series - three wickets at an average of 39.67. However, his replacement Rahul Chahar didn't fare any better either. Chahar could only muster two wickets from two games at an average of 34.
Yuzvendra Chahal stands in 23rd position in the ICC rankings for bowlers in the One-Day format. This is only below Jasprit Bumrah(3) and Kuldeep Yadav(21).
However, the ratings belie Chahal's overall record of 92 ODI wickets at a commendable strike rate of 31.45 from 54 matches.
Virender Sehwag also criticizes the move to bring in a finger spinner in place of Yuzvendra Chahal
While Virender Sehwag admitted that Krunal Pandya bolstered India's batting lineup, he expressed his displeasure at India's decision to replace Chahal with a finger spinner.
Sehwag cited conversations after the 2017 Champions Trophy when the team management claimed that wrist spinners are better suited for white-ball games.
"Yes, if you have lost a series because of a bowler pair because they are not taking wickets, like it was Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin once. We lost the Champions Trophy final and in that tournament, the bowlers didn't take many wickets in the middle overs. So then there was a shift that these two need a break and new wrist spinners need to be tried because wrist spinners are better. Now, you have removed wrist-spinner Chahal and have brought back a finger spinner. I think it's also because to strengthen the batting," concluded Virender Sehwag.
The first ODI is underway at the MCA Stadium in Pune. The next match will be played at the same venue on March 26.