The absence of all-rounder Hardik Pandya highlighted a significant ‘lack of depth’ in India’s batting during the final in Ahmedabad last Sunday.India faltered, losing half their side within the 36th over, ultimately getting to a modest 241 in the summit clash.
“India felt the pressure of not having depth; you know, those little chinks in India’s armour came to the fore,” Manjrekar told Star Sports.
Pandya pulled out of the tournament following a twisted ankle in India’s fourth league match against Bangladesh as India were forced to ring in two changes — Suryakumar Yadav and Mohammed Shami — for their remaining matches.
While Shami’s inclusion was a big boost to the bowling attack, Suryakumar continued to have a woeful show in the ODI format. Suryakumar managed just 106 runs in seven innings at an average of 17.67 and a strike-rate of 100.95.
“The batting depth wasn’t there, and you saw the way KL Rahul played a bulk of the innings with the knowledge that there isn’t much batting to come,” Manjrekar said without mentioning any name.
“Well, India had certain limitations that they had covered beautifully throughout the tournament, with Jadeja at number 7 and their batting finishing at number 6,” he added.
Manjrekar further said the pressure of the final had a part to play in India’s capitulation.
“Just imagine this game was a league match between Sri Lanka and India; would India have taken that risk? Maybe yes, that is where perhaps temperament comes in, and maybe, if it was a league match, India would have played differently,” he said.
Former India allrounder Irfan Pathan said it was tough for India because the team was looking behind, absolutely looking behind to Jadeja and Suryakumar Yadav.
“And when KL Rahul got out, I think that was the time when India couldn’t just go ahead. I thought as soon as they knew that there was no cover, no mid-off, they could have used their feet a bit more and tried to rotate the strike and not allow guys like Travis Head to bowl those two overs crucially in between. Mitchell Marsh bowled one over as well.”
Irfan said India lost to a better-planned game.
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“Australia was a better-planned team. The way they planned, starting from the toss, I don’t think any other team could come close to that kind of planning,” he added.
(With inputs from PTI)