Guwahati, Oct 1 (IANS) India head coach Rahul Dravid on Saturday said that the team management has been very clear about the kind of skills they wanted in the 15-member squad for the 2022 T20 World Cup, adding that the versatility in the group will allow them to play different kinds of XIs based on the different oppositions and playing conditions in Australia.
On September 12, India announced their squad for the upcoming ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Australia. However, since then there have been some serious injury concerns for the team.
India are waiting for clarity on the fitness of Deepak Hooda and Jasprit Bumrah, who have been ruled out of the ongoing T20I series against South Africa and are currently at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru nursing back injuries. And, star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja too will miss the mega event in Australia due to a knee injury.
However, the Indian head coach is not pressing the panic button and trusts the skills of the players, who are in the squad.
'I think we've been very clear about the kind of skills that we want in the 15. I think for me that is really important, the kind of squad that we picked for the World Cup -- barring injury, what were the kind of skills that we were looking for, different kind of bowlers, certain batting skills -- so all of those things, without going into too much detail, we've always been very clear about it, and I think to a large extent we've managed to get everything,' said Dravid in the press conference ahead of the second T20I against South Africa.
'Not everything will be perfect, at times due to injury, due to many other factors. I think, in terms of the skills in the squad, everyone being fit, as we go ahead from here on in, I think we're quite comfortable that we've got all the skills that will allow us to play different combinations and different kinds of XIs based on the different wickets that we might get in Australia and the different oppositions,' he added.
The 49-year-old feels that versatility and flexibility are very important in the squad for a tournament like the World Cup.
'I think that's really important in a tournament like the World Cup where you play in five different venues, or four different venues in our case in the league stage, and then hopefully onwards, and you play against five different teams, so you really need to have that little bit of versatility and flexibility in your squad that allows you to change up things if you need to against a particular opposition. I think we've been very clear with that,' he said.
Dravid admitted that they haven't been able to play that same squad in the last few series due to a variety of reasons.
'...obviously, over the last few series, we probably haven't been able to play that squad due to a variety of reasons, and that can happen, but I think that most of the guys in the 15 now have had a pretty decent amount of cricket, at least in the last six months here,' he said.
Asked whether the constant shuffling in the playing eleven may lead to players not feeling confident about their place in the lineup, India's head coach said the communication within the team has been very good and it's a little unrealistic to keep playing the same XI over and over again.
'I think it's a little unrealistic to expect us to keep playing the same XI over and over again. Some of the changes or experiments that people like to call them are sometimes forced upon you. If Bumrah doesn't play the last game, it's not because we are experimenting. It's because he got injured. In the five-match series against South Africa in June, we played exactly the same XI in all five matches. People were saying, 'why don't they change the XI?'….so I think we can't win either way,' he said.
'Whatever we do, people are going to say that. But I think in the group and in the team, we are very confident and sure about what we've been doing. Sometimes it doesn't seem very apparent from the outside but there are a lot of things that people outside can't know. What niggles players are having…how we need to manage the players. If you notice, we were playing a Test match and at the same time, we were playing a series in Ireland. So there are many things that go into this,' he added.
Teams that have directly qualified for the Super 12 round of the T20 World Cup -- as India have -- can make changes to their squad without ICC permission till October 15.
The Rohit Sharma-led side will begin its T20 World Cup campaign on October 23 with a game against archrivals Pakistan in Melbourne, which will be followed by matches on October 27 (vs Qualifier in Sydney), October 30 (vs South Africa in Perth), November 2 (vs Bangladesh in Adelaide) and November 6 (vs qualifier in Melbourne).
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