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Gavaskar backs five-pronged attack with Jadeja in it

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.

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.

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.

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.