As Shikhar Dhawan won the toss and opted to bat first in the series-deciding third T20I against Sri Lanka in Colombo on Thursday (July 29), former batsman turned commentator, Sanjay Manjrekar, expressed his displeasure at the stand-in Indian captain’s call.
Speaking on a pre-match show on Sony Sports Network, Manjrekar said “I am convinced it is the wrong decision”, stating why he disagrees with Dhawan’s call.
“You are putting that much more pressure on yourself, choosing to bat first when you have five batters in the side”, added Manjrekar, explaining that India would’ve been better off letting their strongest suit – bowling – come into play earlier than their batting and control the game a lot better.
Sanjay Manjrekar disapproves stand-in captain Shikhar Dhawan’s bat-first call at the toss
In opting to bat first, Manjrekar believes, Dhawan and company are putting themselves under more pressure, needing to posting a par total with only four specialist batters available up their sleeves.
With the COVID-19 scare in the camp forcing multiple Indian players to be sidelined, India are left with a highly imbalanced side, featuring Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devdutt Padikkal, Nitish Rana and wicketkeeper Sanju Samson as the only organised batsmen plus six specialist bowlers, of whom only Bhuvneshwar Kumar can claim to have some pedigree in batting.
With that in mind, Manjrekar felt it would’ve been pragmatic of Dhawan and the Indian team management under coach Rahul Dravid to focus on keeping the target down to limited proportion and then go about chasing it down.
The Indian team management, of course, would have their own merits behind opting to bat first at the toss after the last game in Colombo, where batting became progressively more difficult with each ball played. India managed to post a total of 132/5, which Sri Lanka chased down with only two balls to spare.