Samarnath Soory
06 Nov 2022 | 01:25 PM

We want to keep our playing XI options open for semifinal: Dravid

India head coach Rahul Dravid refused to comment on whether Yuzvendra Chahal will play in the semifinal against England

India's semifinal berth in the 2022 T20 World Cup was confirmed few hours before they took to the pitch at MCG against Zimbabwe on Sunday. South Africa lost to Netherlands at Adelaide in the first match of the day, sending India and Pakistan through to the final four. 

A top finish in the group was all that was left for India. They were clinical with the bat -- Suryakumar Yadav's unbeaten 61 off 25 balls took them to 186/5 in 20 overs and then the bowlers fired in unison to dispatch Zimbabwe for 115 all out to win the match by 71 runs and seal the top spot.

For head coach Rahul Dravid, playing Rishabh Pant and seeing how the team does while batting first, were the opportunities going into the match. The Pant ploy didn't work as he got out after scoring 3 runs off 5 balls, but the other opportunity was utilized well.

"A couple of the things that we did want to achieve was to try and bat first if we got the opportunity. Obviously, we needed to win the toss for that. Just because, honestly we had bowled first against Pakistan when we came here, we just wanted to experience what it was to sort of set a score in these kind of conditions," Dravid said in the post-match press conference.

India had gone with Dinesh Karthik as the keeper-batter option in the first four games which didn't exactly work out as he scored 14 runs from 22 balls in three innings. Dravid said that giving Pant game time was important.

"We just wanted to ensure that we have our options open, by giving Rishabh an opportunity to have game time, which was really important. He was probably the only player in our team who hadn't played a game after Western Australia (before the tournament). He didn't play the (first) practice game. He was supposed to play the second one and that got washed out in Brisbane," Dravid said.

Legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal is another player who hasn't played a game in the tournament. India have gone with Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel as their spin options, as the duo can also bat.

They will now travel to Adelaide for the semifinal against England on Thursday (November 10), where spinners have had success. When asked if Chahal will get a chance in the semifinal, Dravid said it will be decided once the team gets there.

"I think we have a completely open mind about everyone in our 15 (player squad). We believe anybody who comes into the 15 will not potentially make us weaker, the kind of squad we've picked," Dravid replied.

"Again, we'll have to go there and see. I watched some of the games today and I know the tracks were slow and they gripped and they turned a bit. We might be playing on a completely new strip in Adelaide, and the strip we played with against Bangladesh, to be honest, did not spin," Dravid said in his assessment of the Adelaide pitch.

"I think I can't sit here now just after a game and predict what's going to happen there. We'll have a couple of days; we'll go and have a look at that wicket and see what we think it might do," he said.

Against Zimbabwe, India's all six bowlers on the day were among wickets -- Ravichandran Ashwin (3-22), Mohammad Shami (2-14), Hardik Pandya (2-16), Arshdeep Singh (1-9) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-11). Left-arm spinner Axar Patel (1-40 in 3.2) was the only one with an economy above 7 RPO.

Dravid was unconcerned by one bad game.

"In a few games. But he's had good games, as well. Again, that's the nature of this tournament, this format," Dravid said.

"I thought he bowled a very good over against Bangladesh just before the rain break. I'm not necessarily concerned," he added.

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