Former New Zealand player criticises approach of Dhawan, Gill

Former New Zealand cricketer reflected on what India could have done differently in the first of three ODIs against the Blackcaps on Friday, in which they went down by seven wickets.
Shubman Gill and Shikhar Dhawan
“One of your openers, if you get off to a good start, really needs to be super-selfless.”

Following a 1-0 win in the three-match rain-marred T20I series, India didn’t have the best of starts to the ODI leg in New Zealand, as they went down by seven wickets in the series opener at the Eden Park, Auckland on Friday, November 25. 

India managed 306/7 in the allotted 50 overs after being put in to bat, a total the hosts chased down with 2.5 overs remaining, courtesy of a game-defining 221-run fourth wicket stand between Tom Latham (145* off 104) and skipper Kane Williamson (94 off 98).

India were perhaps at least 20 runs short on a day when each of their top-three scored fifties on a batting-friendly surface, with Washington Sundar (37* off 16) unleashing at the back end.

Mitchell McClenaghan, the former New Zealand quick, felt openers Shikhar Dhawan (72 off 77) and Shubman Gill (50 off 65) could have been more aggressive after being set.

“I thought the India openers started a bit slow,” McClenaghan said during a conversation with ESPNcricinfo. “New Zealand bowled reasonably well, Matt Henry was miserly at the top.”I feel there should be a point where one of your openers, if you get off to a good start, really needs to be super-selfless.

“That could have happened today, one of the partners could have potentially gone earlier and set a run-rate little-bit more, so that the middle-order batters have a little bit more time to get themselves in if they are not timing it too well at the start of their innings, and launch themselves at the back end.”

Wasim Jaffer, the former India opener, echoed McClenaghan’s thoughts.

“120/0 was a perfect setup for a score like 320-330. But then it became 160/4. Surya got out. If you want to make 320-330, you want Surya there for some time. Shreyas Iyer and Sanju Samson played a great part.

"At one stage it looked like they might get 260-270, but Washington Sundar played that cameo and they reached 306. But losing those four wickets from 120 to 160 set them back.

“When you have a good partnership going, one batsman has to be super aggressive. Both batters can’t play in the same manner. It puts you behind the game. Both Indian batters were looking to get aggressive, but got out pretty close to each other.”

The second ODI will be played at the Seddon Park, Hamilton on Sunday, November 27.