K. Srikkanth: Indian batsmen too respectful of Afghan spinners

According to former national team captain Srikkanth, India’s batsmen “should have played a little more freely” against Afghanistan’s spinners on Saturday.

Kris Srikkanth: “I don’t think anyone expected such a close match but it’s great for the World Cup.” File Photo: V. Ganesan

India showed “too much respect” to Afghanistan’s spinners and should have batted more freely in the contest on Saturday, former captain K. Srikkanth has said.

India’s batting-order failed to counter the opposition spinners on a slow wicket and was eventually restricted to 224 for 8 in its 50 overs. Afghanistan came to close to an upset win but couldn’t cross the line, eventually losing by 11 runs.

“The wicket was slightly slow but frankly speaking, I think India got a bit stuck in the middle overs and should have played a little bit more freely,” Srikkanth, a member of India’s 1983 World Cup winning squad, wrote in a column for the International Cricket Council (ICC).

IN PICTURES | AFG vs IND

“They gave a little bit too much respect to Afghanistan’s spinners because while the Afghans bowled well — especially Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rashid Khan — they didn’t do so well that India should have been restricted to 225. But they got the win, which was important. I thought Virat Kohli captained brilliantly against Afghanistan and it was thanks to his outstanding leadership that India got the win in the end,” Srikkanth observed.

On Friday, England suffered a stunning 20-run loss to Sri Lanka at Leeds, and Srikkanth felt such narrow wins could prove to be a “blessing in disguise” for both the tournament favourites. “I don’t think anyone expected such a close match but it’s great for the World Cup and probably a good thing for India as well because it’s a kind of shock treatment that means they won’t take anything for granted moving forward,” he wrote.

HIGHLIGHTS | AFG vs IND

“It can be a blessing in disguise — England knows now to watch out and it has learned it can’t take any team lightly. “Perhaps it will be the same for India with the Afghanistan game — a blessing in disguise. They won but you suddenly realise that if one, two and three aren’t going to click in your batting line-up, what are four, five and six going to do?”