India look to fine tune for WC with win over Lanka in T20 series - GulfToday

India look to fine tune for WC with win over Lanka in T20 series


Indian players share a lighter moment during a training session. Courtesy: Twitter

The Indian team management in Sri Lanka will focus first on sealing the three-match T20 International series that begins on Sunday and then give youngsters an opportunity in the final T20I.

These are the last set of T20 matches that India will play in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup in October-November.

“We can give some new guys chance in tomorrow’s match. [But] The way we sealed the ODI series after winning the first two matches, we had a great chance of giving youngsters a chance to play international cricket in the last ODI,” said skipper Shikhar Dhawan to media in a virtual interaction on Saturday, the eve of the first T20I which will be played at the R Premadasa Stadium.

“We will field our best team for tomorrow’s T20 and hope to win the first two matches. If we have to experiment, we will try and win the first two matches and then experiment in the third,” added the 35-year-old.

India will go into the T20 series on the back of a 2-1 win in the ODI series. However, India’s loss in the final match may have given the Sri Lankans confidence.

The tourists had made six changes in the final match and fielded five ODI debutants. This was the first time in over 40 years that India had played an ODI with so many debutants.

They had even rested pace bowler Deepak Chahar, who had put up a match-winning batting performance in the second ODI.

Dhawan has full faith in the team’s youngsters and said they are ready to be thrown in the deep end.

“They are ready which is why they are doing well. You saw in the ODI series, they will take confidence and as a team, we have created an amazing environment,” said Dhawan, who is leading the limited-overs team since Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are busy on Test duties in England.

Meanwhile,  Indian limited-overs team captain Dhawan said on Saturday that there has been no request from Indian cricket board to release any batsman from the squad in Sri Lanka as reinforcement for Test squad in England.

“We have not received any news as such and until we get any demand or news from BCCI, then only we will have to change our strategy. Up until now, we haven’t got any information,” said Dhawan to the media in a virtual interaction on being asked if departure of any of the players will lead to a change in strategy.

News emerged in sections of the media that the Indian team management in England has asked for reinforcements after Shubman Gill returned home due to injury and pace bowler Avesh Khan got injured in the tourists’ warm-up against County Select XI this week.

As many as four names -- Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Suryakumar Yadav, who are all in Sri Lanka, besides off-spinner Jayant Yadav -- have come up as options for reinforcement. However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which hasn’t even confirmed Gill’s injury or return home, is yet to clarify.

But Dhawan’s statement suggests that the young batsmen may travel to England only after the tour of Sri Lanka gets over on July 29.

Dhawan, who himself has been a Test opener before being axed, however felt that batsman Yadav is ready to play the longer format of the game since he has great experience in domestic cricket.

“Surya is batting very well in ODIs or T20Is. He has vast experience in domestic cricket. He is a very mature player. If he is given a chance, [in case] he is needed in the Test team [by the team management], and if the selectors think he is needed, [I feel] he is a very good technical batsman, a very smart thinker of the game. I am sure he will do very well in any format,” added Dhawan.

The Sri Lankans will see the return of pace bowler Binura Fernando, who had missed the ODI series.

Young captain Dasun Shanaka’s leadership has received good reviews after he marshalled the youngsters well. The fact that the host can challenge India wasn’t lost on Dhawan.

“They have improved a lot in the last two matches [of the ODI series]. The team is doing well, they have got great youngsters. Both teams have youngsters. It will be a good battle. Both teams know [their] weaknesses and strengths [after facing each other in the ODI series]. That is a good thing,” said Dhawan further.


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