India captain Rohit Sharma on Saturday said he is considering giving spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav a long run in upcoming One-day Internationals as he wants them to get as much game-time as possible.
Speaking at a virtual press conference ahead of the first ODI against West Indies in Ahmedabad on Sunday, Sharma suggested that Chahal and Yadav could be an integral part of India’s 50-over set-up going forward.
“Chahal and Kuldeep have been great performers for us in the past, they’ve created great impact. They were left out because of the different combinations we wanted. But it’s certainly on my mind to get them back together,” said Sharma.
“We want to give Kuldeep Yadav time to settle in. He hasn’t played since a long time. It’s important to handle it carefully. He needs to play a lot of games to get his rhythm back.”
India recently lost the ODI series in South Africa and there were questions raised regarding their approach in 50-over cricket. Sharma, though, said that there is no need to panic.
“There’s not a lot we need to change. We just need to adapt to different situations. We have played good ODI cricket for more than a few days. There’s no need to panic just because we lost one series. The South Africa series provided great learnings,” he said.
“Our ODI win% has been 70-plus, if I’m not wrong. If there’s scope for change, we have to do it. But we don’t need to suddenly copy what other teams are doing... their approach and set-up is different. I’m open to having a different approach but only if it’s needed.”
Sharma only recently became the full-time captain for India in white-ball cricket. He said that he wants to take things forward from former skipper Virat Kohli and not change much.
“I just need to take it forward from Virat. I was the vice-captain when he was leading. Everyone in the team knows their roles, I don’t think we need to change much. We need to adapt according to all the different situations going forward. There’s nothing that I need to change drastically,” said Sharma.
Sharma also shared his views on the finisher’s role in India’s ODI team. It is a position that the side has struggled with in recent times and the skipper admitted there is a need to find more options.
“Yes, the finisher’s role is important. After MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya did well in that role in the past few years. But we do need more options. Whoever gets a chance should grab it. It’s a very important role. We need someone to bat with confidence in that position,” he said.
India were pegged back before the start of the ODI series against West Indies with batters Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer and Ruturaj Gaikwad testing positive for Covid-19. And Sharma said he has “no idea” when the trio will be available to play.
“At the moment the three guys are in isolation. They are doing pretty well and that’s a good thing. But yeah, it’s so uncertain. Last minute, you will see any one turning positive and you have to make a change and get someone else,” Rohit said.
The skipper understands that a situation like this can disturb the balance of the team.
“Look, it is a tricky one (situation). With Covid, there is so much uncertainty and if it happens, how long it takes for recovery is different as every individual is different. Sometimes, it takes 7-8 days and sometimes, it can take 14 days,” he said.
In Covid times, one might have to play in a position which isn’t exactly his preferred one, said the captain, who expects his players to be flexible.
“But these are the times that we live in and the boys in the team understand that. Opportunities can come at any point and they have to be ready for it. But for the team, they have to do it and this is something that we have spoken at length and made it clear with everyone that this is the possible situation,” said Sharma.
“It can happen at anytime in these situations. So anyone coming in place of anyone should try and adapt quickly and get the game going on.”
Inputs from PTI