Following India’s T20 World Cup semi-final loss, there was already discussion of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli being weaned out of the shortest format.
They took notice when both veterans were left out of India’s T20I squad for the three-match series – Rohit was injured – and now head coach Rahul Dravid has hinted at constructing a youthful team with the upcoming T20 World Cup in 2024 in mind.
Rahul Dravid did not identify anyone, let alone Rohit and Kohli, but he was certain that India had opted to prioritize T20Is. The former India skipper also stated that the seniors’ primary focus would now be on the ODI format, as the 50-overs World Cup is approaching.
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We Are Slightly In A Different Stage Of Looking At The Next Cycle Of T20: Rahul Dravid
“For us, obviously, from the last semi-final (in the T20 World Cup) that we played against England, only 3-4 boys are playing in the XI (against Sri Lanka). We are slightly in a different stage of looking at the next cycle of T20, so ours is a slightly younger team and for us to play against the quality of Sri Lanka is a fantastic experience.
The good thing is that a lot of focus is on the ODI World Cup and World Test Championship, so the T20s give us the opportunity to try out these guys,” Rahul Dravid spoke to reporters following India’s defeat to Sri Lanka in the second T20I in Pune.
Only Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Axar Patel, and Arshdeep Singh were part of the Indian XI that faced Sri Lanka on Thursday who were part of the side that lost to England in the World Cup semi-final last year. Hardik Pandya has captained India in two T20I series ever since World Cup, against New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
The selectors have not made a formal declaration about Hardik’s ascension, but he is expected to remain captain in the majority of T20Is in the future.
We Got To Be Patient With These Young Kids: Rahul Dravid
After being questioned about India’s performance, Rahul Dravid stated that the team management, supporters, and everyone else must be flexible with this young side since they are sure to have an off day, as they did in the second T20I against Sri Lanka, losing by 16 runs.
“Nobody wants to bowl wides or no-balls, in this format it can hurt you badly. We’ve got to be patient with these young kids. There are a lot of young kids playing, especially in bowling, and they will have games like this at times.
We need to understand that. We try to help them technically, we support them and create the right environment. They are very skillful, they are learning. It’s tough to learn on the job in international cricket, so we must be patient,” Rahul Dravid added.
While chasing 207, India lost four wickets inside the powerplay but Suryakumar Yadav (51 off 36) and Axar Patel (65* off 30) got India close with some lusty hitting in the last 10 overs of the match.
Rahul Dravid said Hardik’s decision to bowl first on a pitch that has always preferred sides batting first, was not a bad one as the dew made sure the chasing team was always in the game.
“We lost a few wickets. Things could have been different if we had had wickets, but we still got close. There was a lot of dew so they couldn’t complete their spinners, it did a bit for seamers but other than that, it was a good wicket. The decision to bowl first was fine. If we would have done better in a few areas, we could have gotten the right result.”