IND vs AFG: Dravid says “fair idea of the kind of balance” India wants for T20 World Cup

India played 11 T20s after the ODI World Cup last year and the thinktank was able to have a closer look at some contenders such as Jitesh Sharma and Shivam Dube after frontline players were given a rest.

Published : Jan 18, 2024 12:16 IST , Bengaluru - 2 MINS READ

India coach Rahul Dravid looks on during a practice session.
India coach Rahul Dravid looks on during a practice session. | Photo Credit: PTI

India coach Rahul Dravid looks on during a practice session. | Photo Credit: PTI

A manic game of cricket, like the 424-run, double Super Over affair that unfolded at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium between India and Afghanistan, can be difficult to process.

But away from the on-field din, and in the cozy comfort of the press-conference room, head coach Rahul Dravid reflected on the contest that helped India sweep the series 3-0, and on the period it helped culminate ahead of this summer’s T20 World Cup.

“We have had different players play after the ODI World Cup and it’s been good,” Dravid said just after midnight on Wednesday. “It’s nice to see that there are some options. Players have shown that they have got skills to address areas we were thinking about.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have much cricket as a team, but we have the IPL coming up and all of us will closely be watching how some of these guys play.”

The message Dravid seemingly wanted to convey was that the World Cup squad was far from being firmed up, though the think-tank had a “fair idea of the kind of balance” it wanted. A case in point was how he listed out as many as five wicket-keepers — Jitesh Sharma, Sanju Samson, K.L. Rahul, Ishan Kishan and Rishabh Pant.

IND vs AFG: Rohit’s hundred, Super Over heroics help India sweep Afghanistan

One man on whom the message rang loud and clear was all-rounder Shivam Dube, who hit belligerent back-to-back half-centuries in the first two T20Is and earned the Player of the Series award.

“To come back after a long time and be the man of the series will give him a lot of confidence,” Dravid said. “He has certainly put his hand up and made a statement: ‘look, these are the skills I possess and I have got this ability.’

“He was good through the middle overs against spin and he bowled some good overs with the ball. He now has the opportunity to show these in the IPL.”

Dravid also heaped praise on spinner Ravi Bishnoi, who defended 11 runs in the second Super Over by prising out both Afghan batters, and also lauded skipper Rohit Sharma’s trust in the leggie. In fact, Bishnoi has played all eight of India’s home T20Is in the last two months.

“Bishnoi was brilliant. He bowled two superb balls; he pulled the length back and if they had been even slightly fuller, they would have gone for sixes.

“And a really good gut call from Rohit for being aggressive and going for wickets. If they [Afghanistan] had batted for six balls, with the power they had, they would have scored 12.”

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