SA vs IND: Unrealistic to expect all players to be available all the times, says Dravid on resting Rohit, Kohli and Bumrah

India head coach Rahul Dravid said that it would be unfair to expect every player to be available all the time for every series featuring the side.

Dravid’s comments come after regular captain Rohit Sharma, senior batter Virat Kohli and pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah were rested from the upcoming five-match T20I series against South Africa, starting from Thursday.

“It’s not difficult at all. (KL) Rahul has captained before. We are clear on a lot of things. Rohit (Sharma) is our all format player. It would be unrealistic to expect everyone to be available all the time. There are times where we’ve to rest our big players,” said Dravid in a press conference ahead of India’s second practice session on Tuesday.

“We need to ensure that they are fit for all the big tournaments and are peaking then. We also have the Test match in the UK spilling from last year and we need to ensure we have the best side. With the kind of busy schedule we have there are times we need to rest our big players. It gives youngsters opportunities and increase the depth of our squad,” added Dravid.

Dravid further remarked that resting players is a process which will continue in future as well, especially all-format players. “It is balance between managing the workload of some of the players, especially who have been a part of all three formats of the game for us in the last six months. We will do that over the next six months.”

“We have rested a few players; that’s part of thee process. We will continue to do that for a little bit till the T20 World Cup (in October-November in Australia), then we will freeze everyone (for the main squad). It is important to manage people through a very busy calendar.”

Though India are missing some of their regular players, they have been boosted by the return of Hardik Pandya and Dinesh Karthik. Pandya is coming back after captaining Gujarat Titans to IPL 2022 trophy and excelled with both bat as well as ball.

Dravid expects Pandya to continue in same vein in the T20I series. “It is great we have got a lot of Indian captains doing well in the IPL. Hardik was one of them, Rahul did very well for LSG, Sanju captained RR. Shreyas did it at KKR as well. It helps people grow and develop as players. It really helps you grow as a person also, having to make decisions. It is great from our perspective to see that.”

“At this point of time, it is really about from our perspective is that he has started bowling again. You know what that does to us, what depth it brings to the side. So for us really, it would be about ensuring we get the best out of him as a cricketer, in terms of his bowling, in terms of his batting.”

Asked about Karthik and his role in the T20I side, Dravid explained that the veteran wicketkeeper-batter would continue to be the specialist finisher, a role which he did with aplomb for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2022.

“With Dinesh, it’s very obvious and very clear. He has made a comeback on the basis of the skills that he has shown in a particular phase of the game. At the back end, he has really been able to be a point of difference in whichever teams he has played.”

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