Indore, Oct 14: Under-pressure Indian captain MS Dhoni made a surprise decision for the 2nd ODI against South Africa here at Holkar Stadium on Wednesday.
Trailing 0-1 in the five-match series, India entered the 2nd game with 3 changes. While R Ashwin had to sit out due to a side strain sustained during the 1st ODI in Kanpur, Stuart Binny was dropped on poor form.
But what was surprising and unfair from Dhoni and the team management was leaving out leg-spinner Amit Mishra.
Mishra had done well in Kanpur, taking 2/47 in 10 overs. He had troubled South African batsmen on a pitch which assisted spin. He dismissed Hashim Amla and David Miller. But that was not enough to convince Dhoni and others.
In the "Star Sports" TV studio, former Indian skipper Anil Kumble expressed surprise over Mishra's exclusion. "I am surprised that (Amit) Mishra is not in the team," said Kumble.
Another former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman too was surprised at Mishra not playing this game. He termed it "unfair".
In place of te 32-year-old Mishra, left-handed all-rounder Axar Patel was included. Binny's spot was given to paceman Mohit Sharma.
Dhoni defended his decision by saying that Mishra could not bat at No. 7. "It was tough to leave out Mishra, because he was our best pick in the last game, but at the same time I can't see him bat at No. 7 because that will make our batting light. Looking at the composition, we made these changes," the skipper said at the toss.
After the Kanpur ODI, Mishra had said he was bowling well at the moment. "It is a great feeling to come back into the ODI side and straightaway put up a good bowling performance," Mishra told bcci.tv.
"From here on I would only look to better my performances if I get a chance in the forthcoming ODIs. I feel whenever you play for India you need to have self confidence. Irrespective of the fact that you are taking wickets or not; the most important thing is to bowl well and pitch the ball in the right areas.
"I believe I am bowling well at the moment and I am enjoying every bit of it. I am looking to take as many wickets as possible at the moment and bowl according to the match situation," he added.
Mishra has every reason to be disappointed with Dhoni and the team management after the latest snub despite performing.