There have been recent discussions regarding the future of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in T20Is since India’s forgettable loss in the T20 World Cup 2022 semi-final. Now, the Indian head coach, Rahul Dravid seems to have given clear hints that they are building a young team keeping the next T20 World Cup in 2024 in mind. Dravid added that the seniors will now need to focus on the ODI format, considering the 50-overs World Cup is towards the end of this year at home.
As per the quotes in Hindustan Times, during a chat with the reports after the second T20I against Sri Lanka, Rahul Dravid said, “For us, obviously, from the last semi-final (in the T20 World Cup) that we played against England, only 3-4 boys are playing in the XI (against Sri Lanka).”
He further added, “We are slightly in a different stage of looking at the next cycle of T20, so ours is a slightly younger team and for us to play against the quality of Sri Lanka is a fantastic experience. The good thing is that a lot of focus is on the ODI World Cup and World Test Championship, so the T20s give us the opportunity to try out these guys.”
It seems that the approach of Rahul Dravid is right. From the Indian XI that played against Sri Lanka on Thursday, only Hardik Pandya, Suryakumar Yadav, Axar Patel, and Arshdeep Singh played in the T20 World Cup semi-final. Hardik has led India in the two T20I series that they have played against New Zealand and Sri Lanka since the World Cup.
When asked about India’s performance, Rahul Dravid said the team management, fans, and all others will have to be patient with the team of youngsters as they are likely to have an off day like they did in the 2nd T20I against Sri Lanka, losing the match by 16 runs.
Rahul Dravid explained, “Nobody wants to bowl wides or no-balls, in this format it can hurt you badly. We’ve got to be patient with these young kids. There are a lot of young kids playing, especially bowling, and they will have games like this at times. We try to help them technically; we support them and create the right environment. It’s tough to learn on the job in international cricket, so we must be patient.”
While chasing 207, India was reeling at 39/4 after the powerplay overs, but Suryakumar Yadav (51 off 36) and Axar Patel (65* off 30) got India close by playing some fearless cricket in the last 10 overs of the match. Dravid said Hardik’s decision to bowl first on a pitch that has always preferred sides batting first, was not a bad one as the dew made sure the chasing team was always in the game.
Rahul Dravid explained, “We lost a few wickets. Things could have been different if we had had wickets, but we still got close. There was a lot of dew so they couldn’t complete their spinners, it did a bit for seamers but other than that, it was a good wicket. The decision to bowl first was fine. If we would have done better in a few areas, we could have gotten the right result.”