Dilip Vengsarkar, India's chairman of selectors, has sounded out a warning to the senior players following the team's second consecutive defeat to Australia in the seven-match series.
Vengsarkar made it clear that the seniors needed to raise their game, especially in the wake of the World Twenty20 triumph engineered by a young side. "There are many players like S Badrinath and Suresh Raina who are performing with the India A side," Vengsarkar told Mid-Day, a Mumbai-based tabloid. "These guys are waiting for their chance and you cannot ignore them. It's a professional set-up and nobody can take their place for granted."
India made one change for the fourth and fifth one-dayers, bringing in left-arm spinner Murali Kartik for offspinner Ramesh Powar. Powar bowled only 11 overs in the first two ODIs, failing to pick up any wickets and conceded 7.27 runs an over.
Vengsarkar justified the move. "If you get picked as a frontline bowler, then you have to bowl 10 overs. Plus, if your fielding is found wanting and you do not contribute with the bat, the team is obviously at a disadvantage. Ramesh has to get fitter and field better. He also has to improve his bowling."
Vengsarkar also justified Kartik's selection over promising Hyderabad left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha. "Ojha is very young, just 21. It is not fair to unleash him against a side like Australia. We need to groom youngsters. Kartik is experienced and offers us better variation than two offspinners."
"We are not a great fielding side anyway," he said when asked for an assessment of the series so far. "Australia saved about 25 runs on the field. If we had fielded that way, the match would have been much closer."