Aus vs Ind: Can’t understand Kohli’s captaincy, says Gambhir

Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir has criticised Virat Kohli’s captaincy following team’s crushing defeat in the second ODI against Australia which saw them lose the ongoing three-match series.

On Sunday, Australia first posted a mammoth 390-run target at the Sydney Cricket Ground and then restricted the visitors to 338/9, thereby winning the match by 51 runs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead. In the first ODI as well, India had conceded 374 runs and they went on to lose that match by 66 runs.

Gambhir maintained he could not understand Kohli’s decision to give “premier fast bowler” Jasprit Bumrah only two overs with the new ball.

“I can’t understand the captaincy to be honest. We kept talking about how important is to take wickets upfront if we have to stop this kind of batting line-up and then you make your premier bowler bowl two overs. Normally, in a one-day game probably there are three spells of 4-3-3 overs. Or probably the maximum is four overs,” Gambhir said on ESPNcricinfo’s post-match show.

“But if you stop your premier fast bowler just by bowling two overs upfront with the news, I can’t understand that kind of captaincy. I probably can’t even explain that captaincy. It is not T20 cricket. I probably can’t understand the reason to be honest because that was poor captaincy.”

The cricketer-turned-politician also said the Men in Blue could have tried players like Washington Sundar or Shivam Dube if they were facing an issue with the sixth bowler.

“They could have given someone like Washington Sundar or Shivam Dube or whoever was there in the squad to play the next game and see how they go into the one-day format. But if you don’t have anyone in Australia then it is a selection error as well,” the former Indian opener said.

“Unless and until you don’t judge someone you will never be able to find how good he is at the international level. India has not taken those options to Australia and those might come back to hurt them big time,” he added.

Gambhir has not been a fan of Kohli’s white-ball captaincy and has been rooting for Rohit Sharma to lead India in the limited-overs format.

India will now have an uphill task to avoid a clean sweep when they take on the Aaron Finch-led side in the third and final ODI at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on Wednesday.