Afghanistan v India, Asia Cup, Mirpur March 5, 2014

Why no Pujara and Pandey, asks Gavaskar

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sunil Gavaskar has slammed the Indian team management for not experimenting with the XI in Wednesday's dead rubber against Afghanistan in Mirpur, warning that it could breed complacency in the team.

Fast bowler Ishwar Pandey has been part of the ODI squad for the recent New Zealand tour and the Asia Cup, but hasn't got a look-in in either series despite India's listless performances. Middle-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, who is in the Asia Cup squad, also hasn't added to the two ODI caps he earned in the low-profile Zimbabwe series last year.

"Very hard to understand, to be honest with you, it's baffling," Gavaskar said on Star Sports about India's decision to go in with an unchanged XI. "Some of the players have been playing non-stop, they need a bit of a break before the World T20 starts, the second thing is if you are not going to give the reserve players a chance, then when are they going to play."

Pujara has become an integral member of the Test side, and averages 58.92 in domestic one-dayers but has found it hard to make the ODI XI. "Are you worried that Cheteshwar Pujara will score runs so that your favourites who are not consistent might have to make way?" Gavaskar asked. "Are you worried that Ishwar Pandey will pick wickets, and again some of your favourite bowlers might not be certain of a place in the team, what are you worried about?"

Gavaskar also said the move will 'breed complacency' in the team. "The only thing that comes to my mind is that there is that worry and there's probably a fear that if these guys do well, what happens to our favourites in the team.

"This is what breeds complacency, guys know, kuch bhi karoon, team main hoon (whatever I do, I'm in the team)."

At the toss, Virat Kohli had defended the decision. "It is important the team gets confidence from playing one unit, you have to be patient with this side," Kohli said. "We are in a transition phase as far as one-days are concerned, we have shown great fight in this tournament, people have to be patient with us, we surely have the talent, but we will have to wait for the experience to come."

India are already knocked out of the Asia Cup after final-over losses to Sri Lanka and Pakistan, and are playing their final league match against Afghanistan on Wednesday.

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