India head coach Rahul Dravid has explained the team management’s decision to rest captain Rohit Sharma and star batter Virat Kohli for the first two ODIs of the three-match series against Australia. Dravid’s decision to rest Rohit and Kohli is a wise one, given their importance to the team in the upcoming World Cup. It is also an opportunity for Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer to get some game time and boost their confidence.
“With people like Virat and Rohit specifically, from our perspective, it’s really important that we get them to that first game of the World Cup, physically and mentally in the space that they want to be in,” Rahul Dravid said in a pre-series press conference.
He further added, “At this level, with the amount of cricket that they’ve played, they know how they need to prepare themselves. A lot of these decisions are made in discussion in them – all our players, not only the two of them. But certainly, the senior and the more experienced guys kind of have their routines and know what they need to do to get into that first game just in the right frame of mind.”
Dravid also explained that the decision to rest Sharma and Kohli was made in consultation with the players themselves.
“We discuss with them on how best they’d like to prepare in the lead-up to big events like the World Cup,” Rahul Dravid said. “And we came up with mutual decisions on deciding that these two games were good for them to take off, just to refresh mentally more than anything else. And then come back in Rajkot and then it’s going to be a tough couple of months ahead for us.”
The absence of Sharma and Kohli from the first two ODIs against Australia has given an opportunity to Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer to cement their places in the Indian team ahead of the ODI World Cup. Yadav has been in excellent form in T20I cricket over the past year, but he has yet to replicate that success in ODIs.
Iyer, on the other hand, has been a consistent performer in ODIs, and he will be looking to build on his recent performances in the Asia Cup. It will be interesting to see how India fares in the first two ODIs against Australia without their two senior batsmen. If Yadav and Iyer can perform well in their absence, it will give the Indian team management a lot of confidence ahead of the ODI World Cup.