Pick Ravindra Jadeja for 1st Test, says Sunil Gavaskar

New Delhi, Nov 4: Former captain Sunil Gavaskar today said that he would favour India going with four specialist bowlers and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja in a five-pronged attack in the first cricket Test against South Africa beginning here tomorrow.

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Gavaskar said that Jadeja can be a wicket-taking bowler with his left-arm spin as he has done in the past and can also contribute with the bat, making him ideal for the number seven spot.

A file picture of Ravindra Jadeja

Asked whether India should go with five bowlers against South Africa tomorrow, Gavaskar said, "Having five bowlers gives you more options. But often the fifth bowler does not get much chance to bowl. In Sri Lanka, Harbhajan Singh did not get to bowl as many overs as you want.

"Here, Jadeja can be very handy as he can bat and also bowl. As a bowler he can get wickets on Indian pitches and conditions. As a batsman he should apply his mind, stay at the wicket and he will get runs," said Gavaskar.

'Pick Jadeja'

Gavaskar said he would pick Jadeja in the playing XI as he is the ideal candidate for the number seven spot in Test matches.

"Pick Jadeja in the playing XI. He can bowl beautiful deliveries as he did a couple of years back against Australian captain Michael Clarke in Mohali," he said.

"In limited-over matches, he can be a bit expensive but in Tests he is the ideal number seven player. He is a fabulous fielder also and so he can contribute in all departments of the game," said the former Indian captain while pitching for Jadeja.

Gavaskar also picked off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as the key man if India have to win the match.

"If India have to win, R Ashwin is the key man. He is the five-plus wicket taker in the team. You cannot say other bowlers as five-plus wicket takers. When Ishant Sharma comes back, India will have two five-plus wicket takers.

"If the (Indian) batsmen put up a big score, Ashwin will be more confident and that will give India the chance to win," Gavaskar told NDTV.

'Aggressive is not a correct word'

The former captain advised the Indian players to forget about "aggressive" cricket and just play their natural game.

"Aggressive is not a correct word. I would prefer to talk about attacking or competitive cricket. In the Indian context, I understand playing aggressive cricket to be like you are on the face of opposition players, sledge them.

"I would advise the Indian players to forget all these aggressive cricket and just play your natural game. South Africa are the number one Test team and they are a balanced team. They also have the momentum having won the ODI and T20 matches. But the series is too tough to call and it will be a cracker of a competition."

Gavaskar also touched upon the topic of home teams playing on pitches that suits their strengths but said India have the players who can do well in all conditions.

"Clearly, home teams would want to play on pitches which are suitable for them and that is understandable. That is the advantage of playing at home, knowing the conditions and knowing what to expect from the pitches.

"But I would advise the Indian players to forget all these. You are good enough to play on any pitch and condition. They should not make too much fuss about the pitches. But like many Indians would want, I feel the (Mohali) pitch will be a turning wicket," he added.


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