After India’s win in Ranchi, India’s new full-time T20I captain, Rohit Sharma, spoke about looking after the players in the first XI, adding that that the ones on the fringes that didn’t get a chance would in due time. When Venkatesh Iyer was handed his cap, it was assumed it was for an all-round role, batting down the order and providing India with a sixth bowling option. However, it wasn’t until the final T20I that Iyer got the ball. He bowled three overs, conceded 12 runs and dismissed Adam Milne for his maiden international wicket.
“The plan is to keep him in the mix as much as we can,” said Rohit after India’s 3-0 win in Kolkata on Sunday (November 22). “At the same time, we need to give him a role of where to bat. He doesn’t usually bat in this role; for his franchise he bats up the order and it’s going to be tough for him to bat up the order so we’ve given him a role to bat at probably 5, 6,7 in the lower-middle order. See he can do the job for us.
“Today he looked quite composed for whatever time he was in there. He was clear in his mindset and had a good approach for whatever he wanted to do. You saw his bowling skills. He looks a very bright prospect for us. Clearly he’s got the skills. In terms of his bowling skills as well he can get the job done for us. It’s about giving him that confidence, making him play as much as he can and seeing if he can deliver for us. It’s still early days. He’s played only three games and has not much of an opportunity to make an impact. But going forward we’ll definitely keep an eye on him.
“When you play matches as a team, you have to try a lot of things and look for a lot of options. Indian team is also exploring different combinations, different types of options. Among our top five batsmen right now, only Surya and Shreyas can bowl a bit but they are not regular bowlers. They haven’t bowled regularly. But see, however much depth we have is good for us. For now, our bowling, if you keep bowling the way we have, we don’t need the sixth and seventh bowling option. If your five bowlers do the job then you don’t need other options. But for a captain it’s a nice cushion if you have the sixth and seventh option.”
Rohit also elaborated on the importance of persisting with the current set of players in the XI to give them security before bringing in new players.
“When you’re playing, you need to tick certain boxes and we’re trying to do that. We’re trying to create a healthy atmosphere in the team, trying to give players the security so that they can go out and play fearlessly,” he said.
“The first meeting that we had, we spoke of this very clearly to all the players that if you’re trying to do something for the team, that act will never go unnoticed. It will always be recognised when you’re trying to put up your hand and take the pressure on yourself and trying to do something for the team. That is the job of the captain and the coach to tell the players that we do understand what you’re trying to do for the team, you go and take your chances. If it comes off, good, if not, we’ll still back you because you’re doing it for the team. Anything anyone does for the team, it’s always a good sign and you have to back that thought and that’s what we’re going to do here and stay consistent to do that as much as possible.
“With the talent we have in India, it’s not easy, you have to see so many options. Most of the guys who are sitting outside have also done really, really well. You try and fit everyone into the squad but only 11 can play so it’s not easy. It’s always tough but we will try our best to ensure that whenever the players step out they don’t have any baggage.”
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