Bangar defends opening pair shuffle

Shikhar Dhawan, available for the third Test in Delhi, replaced K.L. Rahul at the top. And despite the southpaw failing to raise a big score with the willow, India assistant coach Sanjay Bangar stood by the changes in the opening pair.

"It is hard on some players that they have to miss out but it is the dilemma of the selection," India assistant coach Sanjay Bangar said after Shikhar Dhawan replaced K.L. Rahul at the top for the third and final Test against Sri Lanka.   -  AFP

The opening day’s play of the third and final Test had nothing contrary to the trend in this series. India, electing to bat and compiling 371 for four, pummeled Sri Lanka to submission with both Murali Vijay and captain Virat Kohli getting to their respective hundreds with effortless ease.

Read: Kohli, Vijay punish listless Lanka

Shikhar Dhawan, available for the third Test in Delhi, replaced K.L. Rahul at the top. And despite the southpaw failing to raise a big score with the willow, India assistant coach Sanjay Bangar stood by the changes in the opening pair.

“It (the change) does affect rhythm. It is hard on some players that they have to miss out but it is the dilemma of the selection. The players understand these things. You need to consider the combination of the opposition attack and think if a left-right combination can counter it better when you pick the final XI,” Bangar reasoned.

And how does the team management deal with the player who is benched? Bangar explained, “Team management is very clear that it is basically the form of the player. And because we are so spoilt for choices - everybody is batting well and whoever is getting that opportunity is making it count. Let’s not forget that even cricketers have a life wherein so much cricket is being played, and some players want to take a break for a very personal reason, you need to appreciate that and keep that at the back of our mind.”

On the job of the coach, Bangar said, “I think a coach should be consistent as to how he interacts with a particular player. Every player wants to work on certain aspect of his game and raise the bar.

"Irrespective of a player’s form, our preparation for all players is similar. As far as confidence is concerned, if any player is not in good form, it also depends on his attitude – whether negative thoughts creep into the system or not and how one can counter and transform the negative thoughts into positive thoughts. These are things we discuss. The hunger is same in all players.”

Analysing big partnerships, Bangar said. “It comes down to ownership. That’s the onus the batsmen have taken upon themselves. The number of big scores that we have had is purely because they understand the responsibility taking into account that team is a batsman short and how somebody who is set can make big contribution to the team and get a decisive result in the Test match.”

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