Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir on Wednesday criticised skipper Virat Kohli for not giving a fair amount of chances to all players in proving their World Cup credentials. Ahead of India’s World Cup squad announcement, the Australia series was supposed to lock down on the team’s probable No.4. However, Rayudu was given only three chances in the series where he scored 13, 18 and 2 against the Aussies as his problem against the seaming ball was exposed by Pat Cummins.
However, Gambhir reckons that Rayudu should have played the last two matches too and not dropped owing to his poor show in the series when he has shown his credentials in the home series against West Indies last October and in the contest against New Zealand where he had scored a heroic 90 to not just bail out India from a defeat but also guide the team to a victory.
“Ambati Rayudu has done nothing wrong because of which he should not be part of the playing XI. He scored runs against New Zealand, scored in the series against West Indies and just because he had two or three bad games does not mean that you drop him from the playing XI. Even in the last game we had discussed. You have given Shikhar Dhawan 19 innings, but gave Ambati Rayudu only three chances.
“When you are a captain, you have to stay fair by all means for every player. If you feel Dhawan requires chances before the World Cup because he is an important player for you, same criteria should be followed for Rayudu so that he too gets enough game time and plays consistently at No.4,” Gambhir said on air during the 5th ODI.
Rayudu has been India’s best No.4 since World Cup 2015. Soon after being tasked with the role, he has amassed 464 runs in 14 innings at an average of 42.18 and strike rate of 85.50. His tally since then also includes two fifties and a century.