‘Even if he scores 1,000 runs in an inning, he is…’: Ex-Pak captain slams India for experiments in WI ODIs

India beat West Indies, 2-1, in the recently-held three-match ODI series in the Caribbean island. While Rohit Sharma-led visitors won the series opener by five wickets, they lost the second and penultimate tie — by six wickets — before winning the decider by 200 runs. What made heads turn during the three ODIs was India’s team combination as the Rahul Dravid-led team management rested Rohit and Kohli for the final two matches whereas the fringed players’ usage was also questioned.

From the second ODI, Ishan Kishan opened the innings along with Shubman Gill. While Ishan ended the series with scores of 52, 55 and 77, it is to be noted that he played as an opener. Given Rohit and Gill are certain at the top, KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer will take the middle-order slots once deemed fit before the ODI World Cup. Thus, if Ishan makes the cut for the 50-over showpiece event, to be held in India later this year, he will most likely be slotted at the lower-order. Hence, many raised eyebrows as India used him as an opener throughout the WI ODIs.

The former cricketers and experts were baffled with how India utilised the likes of Axar Patel, Suryakumar Yadav and Sanju Samson in the series whereas many slammed them for overlooking Yuzvendra Chahal. Now, former Pakistan captain Salman Butt has lashed out at Team India for the way they have used some players in the recent ODIs.

Butt said on his official YouTube channel, “I absolutely agree (that India’s experiment with Ishan was confusing). One guy being dropped after scoring 200… what’s the point? Either they accept the fact that he is second option, even if he scores 1000 runs in a single innings. That never gives you the feeling of being the best, that never gives you the feeling that you will be rewarded for your performances. Currently, the feeling is no matter what you do, you will be the second option.”

He further added, “He is not a bench strength level anymore. He’s more than that. Secondly, I accept that Rohit is a big player, but some players are there who have been around for a long time but when pressure gets to them, they can’t deliver. Especially at the knock-out stages, this is something that has to be worked on.”

At present, India is involved in the five T20Is versus West Indies in the Caribbean island. Their main focus is now on the forthcoming Asia Cup, which commences late in August, before the ODI World Cup 2023 in India in October-November.

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