India head coach Rahul Dravid has stated that in the build up to the Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia, the side has been talking about embracing flexibility in the shortest format of the game. He added that the focus will be on giving players as many opportunities as possible on the road to the World Cup.
“I think we need a certain level of flexibility in T20s, that again has been communicated to a lot of the players. There has been conversation around the fact that we need to be flexible, we can’t be predictable. We need to sometimes have the left-right combinations,” said Dravid in the virtual press conference after India completed a 3-0 sweep of the West Indies on Sunday.
“All the stats and data tell you the value of left-right combination, left-arm spinner to left-hand batsman — we all know that stuff. We want our players to be flexible, and that we may need to move them around, and I think they’ve responded really well,” added Dravid.
He further said that the players in the team are also open to embracing flexibility. In the final T20I against the West Indies, in absence of Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant, captain Rohit Sharma dropped to number four so that Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan got to open with Shreyas Iyer at three.
“They want to embrace that, understand the value of that, and so, yes, certainly through that middle order, it’s an area we want to improve and get better at. Especially while batting first, we want to set good totals.
“Sometimes you need that flexibility when you want to take down certain bowlers or combinations or scenarios, you need to have potentially the right people batting in a really short game. Sometimes five or six balls, with the right batsman against the right bowler, can actually be the difference in the game.”
Dravid refused to lock in a certain period of time by which India will be fully sure of the players travelling to Australia for the Men’s T20 World Cup. “There’s a time frame where you can say we want to freeze in this team. We don’t want to cast our net too wide and we don’t want to restrict ourselves to 15 players as well. We saw today (Sunday) with Deepak (Chahar) getting injured, Suryakumar Yadav getting hit on his hand, the Covid issues we had in Ahmedabad, where we couldn’t play three-four players.
“It also needs to be balanced around the fact that we need to have a few back-ups if injuries happen. They can happen with times like these with bubbles, quarantines. We are seeing injuries. We are pretty clear with the balance and combination we want. We are just structuring the team around it and balancing individual workloads as well.
“We have a fair idea between Rohit, the selectors, the management, about the kind of skills we are looking at for Australia. The guys who are in the running — we want to give players a fair chance to stake their claims also. We don’t want to set ourselves in stone too early as well,” concluded Dravid.
India will next face Sri Lanka in a three-match T20I series starting from February 24 in Lucknow followed by matches at Dharamsala on February 26 and 27.