Give opportunity to youngsters: Shastri

Former captain Ravi Shastri said on Wednesday the national selectors should have given opportunity to the youngsters, after India failed to qualify for the semifinals of World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

“I would have given opportunity to young players. Ashok Dinda, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma. We have all forgotten Ishant but he still has a big role to play in Indian cricket. If you look at batting, Ambati Rayudu, Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay are young guys who have shown promise,” said Shastri.

“It’s time to get a better mix of youth and experience for the next time. You need youth, you need some energy in the field. If you look at Zaheer Khan, he needs to be rested. You need him in Tests and ODIs. Why can’t you just rest him for Twenty20, give a chance to the young bowler,” he added.

While skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni came under fire for some of his selection errors, Shastri, like Sunil Gavaskar, was not in favour of giving him the axe.

“Let him carry on as the captain. He did a good job for the last five years. For a defeat, the entire team has to take the responsibility including the captain and the coach. They know what went wrong. There is no need to panic as to what happened now,” Shastri said.

Asked about the reason behind India’s slide ever since winning the inaugural edition in 2007, Shastri said, “Look at the side that went for the World Cup, the format was new to everyone and as a result, the seniors decided to take the backseat. They were not interested in playing T20.

“The end result was a young side, that was fit, eager, hungry and an excellent fielding side. These are must in T20,” he said.

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