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Dravid backs Ashwin's 'experience' to come in handy against Australia

Last updated on 21 Sep 2023 | 01:25 PM
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Dravid backs Ashwin's 'experience' to come in handy against Australia

Rahul Dravid was also of the opinion that the management blindly trusts Suryakumar’s abilities as a middle-order batter

It wasn’t a shocking decision that the Indian management came around to picking Ravichandran Ashwin for the upcoming three-match ODI series against Australia. Ashwin was always one of the names that kept making the rounds, considering the lack of off-spin options in the Indian setup. 

Not just that, the wealth of left-handers in the other teams also puts India in a tricky position if they do not have an off-spin option in the squad. Indian head coach Rahul Dravid backed Ashwin to come in handy against Australia and insisted that his experience contributing with the bat at No.8 might be useful for the national team. 

“Having someone of (Ravichandran) Ashwin’s experience is always good for us. Ashwin provides you with the experience of that ability to also contribute with the bat at No.8,” Dravid heaped praises on Ashwin ahead of the first ODI in Mohali. 

“He’s (Ashwin) someone who we have always thought of in case there were injuries or certain opportunities that opened up. He was part of our plans. Someone of his experience certainly helps us, even though he hasn’t played a lot of ODIs,” he added.

India find themselves in a tricky position ahead of the ODI World Cup, finding the middle-ground between game time and rest for the players in the XI. Dravid called that a bit of ‘boon and bane’ but insisted that several players in the team can use the opportunity to showcase their skills. 

“I think it is a bit of both (boon and bane). For starters, we want to win the series, but also, it gives us an opportunity to be able to ensure that some players in our team get their valuable game time who are coming off an injury,” Dravid added. 

“For them, having these games in the lead-up to the World Cup is nice. It is a mix of both, it is one such series where we will have to rotate our pacers. There are others who would want to take this as an opportunity to showcase their skills.”

No doubts over Suryakumar Yadav's place

Two of the many players who have received a break during the first two ODIs are Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. The two have been rested ahead of the preparation for the upcoming World Cup, and will be in the squad to face Australia in the third ODI. 

“Virat and Rohit specifically wanted rest ahead of the ODI World Cup. It is really important from our perspective to get them to the World Cup fresh (physically and mentally). They know how to prepare themselves,” Dravid insisted.

“A lot of these decisions are made with discussion with them. Certainly, the senior and the more experienced guys have their routine to get into form before the first game. With them, we discuss how best they want to be prepared.”

More importantly, there have been a lot of questions and discussions over Suryakumar Yadav’s place on the Indian side. His form with the bat hasn’t helped either, with scores of 26, 35, 24, 19, 0, 0 and 0 across his last seven innings. Dravid, though, wasn’t too fazed with his form, stating that the management backs his skills completely. 

“Suryakumar Yadav is in the World Cup squad, and he shouldn’t be too worried about it. We completely back him. We back him because he has certain qualities and skills that we have seen. Yes, at the moment, we only see it in T20 cricket, but we know that a player of his calibre can really make a difference to our team, batting at No.6,” Dravid stated. 

“He (Surya) can change the course of the game. We have been pretty clear about that. We have total clarity over that fact; hopefully, he will be able to turn it around in these ODIs.”

So, what can we expect from India during the first ODI? Dravid kept mum about the playing XI but insisted that ‘all options’ are on the table, and players will mostly play in their respective batting positions. However, where Ishan Kishan will bat is a bone of contention. 

What to expect in Mohali?

“I wouldn’t want to put out XI here, but the idea is to give all of them game time and bat them in positions that they would play at the World Cup. We can’t make everyone bat in those positions. Two or three will get into the XI, we will be looking to bat people in their respective positions."

"Ishan is someone who is picked as a batter for opening position and middle-overs, so he gives us that flexibility, it is a nice flexibility.”

India kick-off the three-match ODI series against Australia in Mohali on Friday (September 22), with KL Rahul set to lead the side. 

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