Sunil Gavaskar worried about Steven Smith's continued success against India
Sunil Gavaskar bemoaned the failure of the Indian bowlers to get rid of Australian skipper Steve Smith who played a match-winning knock of 149 in the ODI series opener at Perth on Tuesday. The legendary batsman feels that the visitors should chalk out a plan to dismiss the 26-year-old to prevent the Australians from running away with the series.
Despite posting a formidable target of 310 aided by Rohit Sharma’s 135-ball 149, India lost the match by five wickets as Smith and George Bailey’s 242-run partnership helped the hosts take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. Speaking to NDTV after the match, Gavaskar feels Smith’s form is going to be a crucial factor in the outcome of the series.
"India really need to find a way to get rid of Australian skipper Steven Smith. They have not found out a way to dismiss him last year and the first match of the new series suggests they are still struggling to find a way to get the Australian skipper out cheaply. Unless they do that the Australians are going to score big runs," he said referring to Smith’s continued success against India having registered scores of 162 not out, 52 not out, 133, 28, 192, 14, 117, 71, 47, 105 in his last 10 innings against the Men in Blue across all formats.
"He (Smith) really loves Indian bowling, he does not seem to get out to Indian bowlers. He is going to be very crucial to containing Australia," Gavaskar said, as quoted by the Times of India.
Gavaskar feels pitches in Australia are now batsman-friendly
Gavaskar felt that the pitches in Australia are not as bowler-friendly as it used to be in the past and specifically pointed out that the Perth stadium had put the Indian contingent at a disadvantage.
“I do believe the straight boundaries at Perth are very short so a little disadvantage for the Indian spinners in particular. Perth pitch is little overrated at times being fast, bouncy. So clearly the pitches in Australia are now very good for batting.
“It's going to be a battle of batsmen because pitches in Australia are now very good for batting. Once you negotiate the new ball in Australia and South Africa, the pitches turn out to be terrific to bat,” Gavaskar said.
“So my honest advice to the Indian batsmen would be to try and capitalise on these pitches, score as many as they can. Clearly you need to look at 350 as the minimum to score.”
The Little Master still gave due credit to the Australians for pulling off the victory but also had words of praise for the Indian duo of Sharma and Virat Kohli.
"309 was never an easy score to chase because you are required to chase more than six runs an over and they also lost two wickets pretty early," Gavaskar said. “You need to give credit to the Australians. They batted very well. And you also need to give credit to Rohit (Sharma) and Virat (Kohli)."
Barinder Sran impresses on his ODI debut
Another Indian cricketer who came in for praise from Gavaskar was left-handed seamer Barinder Sran who was making his ODI debut on Tuesday. The 23-year-old took the early wickets of David Warner and Aaron Finch before returning late on to dismiss Smith.
Gavaskar advised Sran to seek the advice of Wasim Akram and Ashish Nehra to work on developing his incoming delivery so as to become more potent in the future.
"It does not matter how quick you are, you must be able to pick wickets and he (Sran) is getting wickets. I think if you can develop the ball that comes into the right-hander it would be great.
“Speak to Wasim (Akram) and try to pick his brains because I feel that is one ball which will create problems for Smith because he shuffles so much towards his off stump,” Gavaskar said.
“The ball coming in late can trap him leg before or bowl him behind his legs. So that's something he needs to develop. Maybe talk to Ashish Nehra because he has a terrific incoming delivery," said the legendary batsman.