Chennai: Head coach Rahul Dravid discussed India’s plans for the upcoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, while also detailing Suryakumar Yadav’s ODI game, and how India would look to overcome Mitchell Starc.
The current ODI series against Australia is tied at 1-1, with the final ODI all set to be played at Chennai. India won the first game in Mumbai by five wickets, while they were beaten soundly in the second game at Vishakhapatnam by 10 wickets.
This series will be India’s last engagement at home over the next few months. The side will not get many other opportunities to play home ODIs before the World Cup, also to be played in India.
Dravid discussed how the team was looking to keep in shape for the global event in October-November 2023 with the ICC World Test Championship final, Asia Cup and other matches ahead of it.
He added that India has had the opportunity to build the side they wanted over the last few months.
"Probably, we’ll not get many more games in our conditions. But we’ve had the opportunity over the last few months to play in these conditions, which is great. I think to a large extent we are pretty clear as to the squad, and the players we want.
"We’ve narrowed it down to 17-18 players, we have a few guys who are recovering from injuries and might come into the mix, depending on the time frame of their recoveries and how long it takes for them to come back.
"All in all, I think we are pretty much in a good space. We’re pretty clear about the kind of team we want to play in. And, hopefully we can give these guys who we’ve zeroed in on, as many playing opportunities as we can. If it’s in India, it's great, but even if it's not in India, we just want to give as many opportunities as we can to build our side.
"Within our team of 16 players, there will be a couple of different combinations to try and see, because it’s a big tournament, it’s a long tournament in India. We’re playing in nine different cities, nine different conditions, so you just want to have flexibility in your squad as well, to be able to play sometimes four fast bowlers, sometimes play three spinners.
"Within the squad, we’d want to look at different options. So as to ensure that we’ve covered all bases for all conditions.”
Discussing Suryakumar Yadav’s poor run in the ongoing series, the India coach believed that the Mumbai batter needed to be given a run so as to build his ODI game.
"Not really concerned about Surya in a couple of games. He got two first-ballers, which were two pretty good balls ,” Dravid went on to discuss how the batter was still new to the 50-over game.
"I think we need to be a little bit more understanding as well. One of the things about Surya is that he’s also learning the 50-over game a little bit.
"T20 is slightly different. Even though he hadn’t played for India for a really long time (since his T20 debut), he had played almost 10 years in the IPL. A lot of IPL cricket, which is a tournament almost like international cricket. He played a lot of high-pressure T20 games.
"In ODIs, there’s no equivalent tournament in domestic cricket. You have to play the Vijay Hazare and all that. So, even though he’s played a lot of T20 cricket, his one day cricket, he hasn’t played a lot of it (internationally). So we just need to give some time and be patient with him.
"We certainly see the upside of him doing well, which can be really good for the side," he told reporters ahead of the third and ODI series decider here on Tuesday.
India’s top-order has struggled in the first two ODIs, with Australia’s left-arm seamer Starc troubling them with the new ball on both occasions. Starc finished with 3/49 and 5/53 in the two games.
Dravid backed India's top-order while discussing their recent issues against Starc, and emphasized on playing out a good spell from the fast bowler in order to succeed in the game.
"I think we’ve actually done really well as a batting unit over the last year or so, especially in white-ball cricket, even in the six-seven games before that, we put up some really big scores in one-day cricket.
"So not too much of a concern, I think at odd times, these things can happen. I think Mitchell Starc has bowled really well, so credit to him as well for the way he’s bowled with the new ball. (For India) You just need to find a way through that spell and bat, don’t lose too many wickets upfront. I think we should be fine." (UNI)