Speaking on ESPNcrinfo, the cricketer-turned-commentator pointed out that Iyer had been selected as an all-rounder in the team and should have been given a few overs in the contest. Manjrekar feels that with the specialist bowlers going for a lot of runs, Iyer should have been handed the ball.
He remarked that KL Rahul would have been obliged to give senior spinner Yuzvendra Chahal an opportunity to come back after being expensive early on.
Here's what Sanjay Manjrekar said:
"I'm surprised that KL Rahul didn't go for the sixth bowling option. Ventakesh Iyer is in the playing 11 not just for his batting, but for his all-round abilities."
Sanjay Manjrekar added:
"KL Rahul is a young captain, while guys like Yuzvendra Chahal are seasoned campaigners. He wanted to give them a chance to come back stronger. Otherwise, it would have given a confirmation that he has had a bad day. That's why he might have felt the obligation."
South Africa managed to post an impressive total of 296 after electing to bat first at Boland Park. Rassie van der Dussen starred with the bat with his unbeaten knock of 129 from just 96 deliveries. Skipper Temba Bavuma also slammed an impressive ton and received appreciation from all quarters for his knock of 110 runs.
"Rahul Dravid has gotten Ashwin to do something that we haven't seen in many years" - Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar praised veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin's performance in the encounter. He stated that he was impressed with the bowler tossing the ball up against the Proteas batters.
Manjrekar believes head coach Rahul Dravid was successful in utilizing Ashwin's services well in the 1st ODI. Manjrekar also backed the 35-year-old to do well in 50-over cricket, looking at his recent outings.
Sanjay Manjrekar said:
"I was delighted to see Ashwin bowl like a proper Test bowler with that flight. Rahul Dravid has gotten Ashwin to do something that we haven't seen in many years. I am going to be a big supporter of Ashwin in ODIs."
Ashwin conceded 53 runs from his full quota of 10 overs. He also picked up the crucial wicket of Quinton de Kock in his spell.