India's batting coach Vikram Rathour said both Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav “understand” that they will have to wait for their chances in the ODI format. The Men in Blue are currently involved in a three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka and have already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Suryakumar is the top-ranked T20I batter, while Kishan smoked a double century in his last ODI. However, the two haven’t featured in the ODI series yet, with the likes of Shubman Gill, KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer being preferred over them.
"They are not forced (to sit out), I mean, the others are doing good as well. As players they do understand that, and they need to wait for their opportunity, and they are preparing for that, they train hard and whenever that opportunity comes, they do well and hold on to their places," said Rathour ahead of the third and final ODI in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday (January 15).
Kishan, who has been picked for the first two Tests against Australia, has slammed 477 runs in nine ODI innings at an average of 53 and a strike rate of 111.97. The wicketkeeper-batter from Jharkhand has proven his worth as an opener but could also bat in the middle-order if the situation demands.
"At the moment, he has been picked as an opener but as a batting unit we are flexible and if there is a need to try somebody like Ishan in the middle order, we might have to. At the moment though, he is being looked at as an opener."
Meanwhile, SKY has an average of 46.41 and a strike rate of 180.34 in the shortest format of the game but is yet to ace the 50-over format. In 16 ODIs, the right-hander has scored 384 runs at an average of 32 and a strike rate of 100.52. He is competing with the likes of Rahul and Iyer who have been a lot more consistent in this format.
"He has great potential, he has been in great form, it is great to have him in the reserve, and hopefully, when the time comes, he will take that opportunity and do well for the team. It is great to have such versatile player in the team."
Once India are done with Sri Lanka, they will play three more ODIs against New Zealand this month. The 2023 World Cup is not too far away and Rathour said 20 games would be enough to zero in on the core group of players for the showpiece event.
"I think, 20 games are enough, if we can shortlist the players, that’s the core we are focusing on. As team management, we do understand who are the players we are looking to focus on. If we have clarity then I think 20 games are enough to work on those certain areas. We have always been a good 50-over format team, just some areas to fine-tune and 20 games are enough to do that."
Talking about the lower-order batting, Rathour said: "They need to bat more in the nets, that is the thing we strive for, we make them bat more, the more they bat the better they become. We encourage them to keep batting at the nets even when they go and play for their states and IPL.
“That is what has been told to them. We want them to get better and if we can get more runs from the lower order, it will be great. That's an area we are looking to get better at.
"Axar Patel has been batting well actually, he has always been a good player, we always believe he has a lot of potential in his batting as well and that is what he is showing lately.
"As a team, it gives us lots of options as far as playing all-rounders is concerned. We have three guys who can bat well, I am sure (Ravindra) Jadeja will be back soon, then we have Axar and Washington Sundar who can bat. It is great to have those options."