- Indian team’s coach Rahul Dravid has backed the selectors and players
- Rahul Dravid said any player chosen to be in the squad is fit to represent India
- 9 Indian players have been put in isolation due to COVID-19 norms
As many as 9 players were in isolation as team India was forced to play their remaining 11 players in the second T20I against Sri Lanka in Colombo. The impact of the COVID-19 on the Indian team was so huge that the team management was helpless and had no other choice left.
The belief was that at some point, most of the uncapped youngsters who had been picked in India’s squad, would get a chance – similar to what happened in the third ODI against Sri Lanka, however, the circumstances were such that those opportunities came a bit earlier.
On Wednesday, India handed T20I debuts to Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana and Chetan Sakariya, with India coach Rahul Dravid stressing the importance of viewing fringe players as good enough to represent India.
There has been a lot of noise outside the dressing room about a lot many players getting rewarded with India caps but the India coach refuted any such belief and asserted that any player which has been picked in the squad is fit to represent India in its 11.
Rahul Dravid told the broadcaster ahead of the beginning if the 2nd T20I against Sri Lanka in Colombo, “After we wrapped up the ODI series, we tried to give a few people a chance. Obviously, circumstances here have forced us to do it here even before we managed to win the series.
“But I truly believe that if you’re selected to play for India – whether it’s 15 players or 20 players – you’re good enough to play in the XI. I don’t really think that the selectors select you in the 15 just to warm the bench or for a holiday”.
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However, none of the debutants managed to grab the golden opportunity on what was a sluggish pitch at Colombo as India lost the nail-biting contest by 4 wickets. The series was then locked at 1-1 with the decider on Thursday.
He said, “Certainly, that’s not the message I have been given. I look at the squad, the 20 guys who are here, each of them has got here through sheer weight of performances. It’s not easy in India.
“People earn the right to come here. It’s not everytime that we’re going to give everyone a chance here but it’s really nice to be able to give as many as you can.”
Dravid believes the players who are in the squad have earned their right. As it turns out, all five players, who ahead of the start of the Sri Lanka series, would have played at least one game by the time the series is over.
Having said that, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, insists Dravid.
The Wall added, “They are earning their India caps. I don’t get that argument. Like I said, if you’re selected in a team of 15 – with Covid now it’s become 20, you are selected keeping in mind that you may need to play in the 11 at any given point of time.
“You have certainly earned the right to get that cap. It’s up to you to take that opportunity and perform. I truly believe everyone who’s here has earned it”.
In the 3rd T20I played on Thursday, India was only able to put a score of 88/8 after 20 overs on the board which the Sri Lankans chased quite easily in 14.3 overs with 7 wickets remaining.
Kuldeep Yadav was the top scorer for team India who remained unbeaten after scoring 23 from 28 balls. Though Rahul Chahar could not help the team with his bat, he definitely pulled it off with his bowling, taking 3 wickets in his 4 overs at an economy of 3.75.
It was for the first time since 2008 that Sri Lanka had won any series against India, and the first ever T20I series win against India.