'Only the captain has the answer' - Sunil Gavaskar questions KL Rahul's strategy of not bowling Venkatesh Iyer

‘Only the captain has the answer’ – Sunil Gavaskar questions KL Rahul’s strategy of not bowling Venkatesh Iyer

India lost the opening ODI by 31 runs.

Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

South Africa got the better of India in the first ODI by 31 runs at Boland Park in Paarl on Wednesday. While pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah managed to register a couple of scalps, he hardly got any support from the other end as the hosts fought their way after suffering a top-order collapse to post a score around 300.

Venkatesh Iyer made his ODI debut at Paarl but stand-in captain KL Rahul didn’t use him as a bowling option. After Team India’s defeat in the series-opener, Sunil Gavaskar has questioned Rahul’s strategy for not giving the KKR player a chance to roll his arms over.

Venkatesh Iyer could have been effective: Sunil Gavaskar

“Only the captain has the answer as to why Venkatesh wasn’t bowled even once. He is a new player who has just made a name for himself in the last 4-5 months. That is why he is in the Indian team. But oppositions don’t know much about him. And when such a scenario arises, giving a couple of overs will allow the batters to know him,” said Sunil Gavaskar while speaking on Sports Tak.

“And sometimes, that rhythm with which the batters are playing can also break. Had he given an over, something else could have happened. He could have given away 20-25 runs but at least it would have been something different”, the 1983 World Cup winner added.

It was a debut to forget for Venkatesh Iyer who was selected in the team as an all-rounder. While he did not bowl in the first innings, the middle-order batter could only manage two runs before being caught by Rassie van der Dussen off Lungi Ngidi while attempting a big shot.

Chasing a target of 297, Shikhar Dhawan (79), and, Virat Kohli (51) added 92 runs for the second wicket after losing skipper Rahul early, Once the duo was dismissed, the middle-order failed to rise to the occasion, and even though tail-ender Shardul Thakur scored a great half-century, India were restricted to 265/7 from their 50 overs. Rassie van der Dussen was adjuged the Man of the Match for his match-winning unbeaten 129.

The Men In Blue would now be hoping to make amends in the second ODI at the same venue on Friday.