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Legends slam Team India for setting unwanted record against Australia

India, Indian Cricket Team, Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma,

India greats Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri have launched a scathing attack on the Indian cricket team after Rohit Sharma and his boys failed to stop Australia from winning the first T20I in Mohali despite putting up a total of 208/6 on the board. With their defeat against Aaron Finch and company, Team India set up an unwanted world record, becoming the first side to lose two matches at home in a calendar year even after scoring 200-plus runs in T20Is. While Ravi Shastri pinned the blame for India’s defeat on their sloppy fielding after the Men in Blue dropped three catches in Australia’s run-chase, Sunil Gavaskar called out Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Harshal Patel’s lackluster show with the ball for the shocking defeat on Tuesday.

“If you look at all the top Indian teams over the years, there is youth and experience. I find the youth missing here and hence the fielding. If you look at the last five-six years, fielding wise, I think this side is no match to any of the top sides when it comes to fielding. And that can hit badly in big tournaments. It means that as a batting side you have to get that 15-20 runs game after game, because if you look around the field, where is brilliance? There is no Jadeja. Where is that X-factor?” Ravi Shastri said in commentary during the 1st T20I in Mohali.

“What I was disappointed today with was the standard of fielding. I mean, it looks sloppy and I think you need a big upping of the ante when it comes to the fielding if you have to beat big sides in big competitions,” Ravi Shastri added.

Ravi Shastri also criticized former India captain Virat Kohli for his poor shot selection against the Australians in the first game of the three-match T20I series in Punjab. Kohli was dismissed for a paltry score of 2 off 7 deliveries at the PCA Stadium on Tuesday.

“The kind of game he has got, there is no need for that kind of shots that early. He has got to get in and run those extra runs. He has got a hundred on his back and he shouldn’t waste good form. He needs to give himself time in the middle,” Ravi Shastri explained.

“A player of that quality doesn’t need to go in the air that much, especially on tracks like this. At his best, he is a superb place of the ball, he is a fine placer of the ball. He can hit those big shots in the latter half of the innings. He can churn them out at will, once he is in,” the former India head coach stated.

Meanwhile, Sunil Gavaskar said that Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s death bowling was one of the major concerns for India, especially with the T20 World Cup in Australia just around the corner.

Highlighting the problem, Gavaskar mentioned that the Meerut-born fast bowler has given 49 runs in his last three overs bowled at the death, leading to India’s defeats against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup and then again at the hands of Australia in Mohali.

“We didn’t actually bowl as well. It’s a real concern. When somebody like a Bhuvneshwar Kumar is going for so many runs every single time, when he is expected in 18 deliveries in 3 matches that India have lost against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia, he has given away 49 runs which is almost like 3 runs per ball. Someone of his experience and his calibre, you expect maybe he would give 35-36 runs. That really is an area of concern,” Sunil Gavaskar told India Today in an interaction after the match.

Though Sunil Gavaskar wasn’t impressed with Harshal Patel’s bowling either, he defended him because he arrived in the match against Australia after a lengthy layoff due to an injury.

Gavaskar even advocated that India should play both Harshal Patel and pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah who is also returning after an injury, in the next few matches just to give them game time.

For fast bowlers, finding their rhythm is crucial ahead of a big tournament, particularly after a long break because the line and length could be wayward during the initial days of their return. That’s why playing more and more matches is important for their confidence and that’s what Gavaskar was emphasizing.

“Harshal is generally a very meaty bowler. But let’s not forget he is coming back after a long break. That’s why it’s so important for the bowlers to have plenty of overs under their belt before they get to the World Cup. That’s the reason, India can maybe play Bumrah and Harshal even in a couple of the ODIs just to get miles in their legs. And to get their rhythm going. That’s something that the Indian management will have to look at,” he signed off.