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Virat Kohli defends lack of experimentation, says ‘can’t bat Kedar at top’

With Yuvraj Singh struggling to find his mojo and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, one of the best finishers in ODIs, failing to take the team past the finishing line while chasing a meagre 190 in the recently concluded ODI series against the West Indies - Virat Kohli might have missed a chance to try out Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya at the top.

india vs west indies 2017 Updated: Jul 07, 2017 19:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India vs West Indies,Virat Kohli,Kedar Jadhav
Kedar Jadhav has scored 565 runs in 25 ODIs at an average of 56.50 with two centuries. (AFP/Getty Images)

With the five-match ODI series against a side that has been struggling to revive itself in the past few years, it was expected India would give the likes of Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav more responsibility in order to have all bases covered come the 2019 World Cup.

(Read | Why a struggling MS Dhoni is still priceless to Virat Kohli)

With Yuvraj Singh struggling to find his mojo and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, one of the best finishers in ODIs, failing to take the team past the finishing line while chasing a meagre 190, there was a chance to test Pandya, Kedar and even Rishabh Pant at No. 4 or 5. But Virat Kohli – after leading the team to 3-1 series win with a record breaking century at Kingston – defended his claim on not experimenting much throughout the series. The Indian skipper said it’s important to respect all opposition and understand what’s best for the team.

(Read | Indian cricket team to tour Sri Lanka for first full series in eight years)

“You can’t make a Hardik [Pandya] or Kedar [Jadhav] bat at No. 3 and 4 and make your top-order batsman bat lower down. It’s still international cricket and you have to be respectful towards oppositions and whatever games that you play and its very important to understand what works for you as a team and you’ve got to keep sticking to it. We keep giving them confidence and both guys are very eager to make dents, which they have in the past, and we’re very confident of their abilities and we’re actually delighted to have found two lower order batsmen who can play that explosive cricket.

“Kedar’s knock, if you saw in that low-scoring game the other day, he made the difference when he came in the end, and Hardik’s knock in the Champions Trophy final and in the first game as well. So these guys can play impact innings for you.

(Read | India vs West Indies: Virat Kohli breaks another Sachin Tendulkar record)

What Kohli has said it makes sense but one fact that can’t be negated is that in the past two-three years, India’s top-order has done bulk of the scoring in limited-overs format. With Manish Pandey and Dinesh Karthik being inconsistent and Yuvraj seemingly well past his prime, it was an ideal opportunity to unleash someone like Kedar or Pant at the top.

(Read | Virat Kohli says focus not on stats as India seal 3-1 series win vs West Indies)

Kedar Jadhav, who has an average of 56.50 in 25 ODIs, is a good bet at No. 6 but one can’t overlook the truck loads of runs this pocket-sized dynamite has scored while batting at No. 4 -5 for Maharashtra in domestic circuit. As for Pant and Hardik, they’re also proven Ranji Trophy performers.

With India’s next ODI opponents being Sri Lanka, Australia (if their pay dispute is resolved) and South Africa, the ODI series against the Windies might well turn out to be a missed chance for Kohli where he could’ve tried different combinations, especially in the middle-order.

First Published: Jul 07, 2017 19:04 IST