Sanjay Manjrekar has said that India may have erred by fielding two spinners in the final of the ICC World Test Championship against New Zealand which they eventually lost. India played two spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin and allrounder Ravindra Jadeja in a stark contrast to New Zealand who went out with an all-pace attack in overcast Southampton.
The majority of the contest was impacted by inclement weather forcing it to go into the reserve sixth day and New Zealand went on to win by eight wickets, and in the process, clinching their first ever world title.
Manjrekar reckons that playing two spinners was always going to be a debatable selection considering the overhead conditions that favoured pacers.
“If you have to look at how India went about before the game started, picking two spinners was always a debatable selection especially when the conditions were overcast and the toss was delayed by a day,” Manjrekar said on ESPNcricinfo. “They picked one player for his batting, which was Jadeja, and his left-arm spin wasn’t the reason he was picked. He was picked for his batting and that is something that I am always against.”
Manjrekar says that picking Jadeja for his batting abilities is something that has backfired for India as playing a specialist batter may have served them best.
“You have got to pick specialist players in the team and if they felt that the pitch was dry and turning, they would have picked Jadeja for his left-arm spin, along with Ashwin, that would have made sense. But they picked him for his batting and I think that backfired as mostly it does,” Manjrekar opined
“Had they had a specialist batsman in Hanuma Vihari for example, who had a pretty good defence, that would have been handy. Maybe 170 could have been 220, 225 or 230, who knows?” he added.
He also advised India against following what England have done in the past: picking someone because they have an additional strength which may or may not come to good use.
“But I hope India don’t do what England have historically done, pick somebody because there is another strength that they have and that strength might just come to good use, but very rarely it does when it’s a pressure game,” he said.