India head coach Rahul Dravid reiterated that the recently-concluded T20I series against West Indies was an opportunity for the team to introduce flexibility in the team and create a template for the team that is suitable for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup this year.

India completed a whitewash of the West Indies after the conclusion of the three-match T20I series on Sunday. In a virtual press conference after India beat the visitors by 17 runs in the third T20I, Dravid addressed that the management is aiming to ensure that conditions dictate the dynamics of the team and they can provide an opportunity to as many players as possible in the lead-up to the World Cup.

“I think we need a certain level of flexibility in T20s, that again has been communicated to a lot of the players,” Dravid said.

“There has been conversation around the fact that we need to be flexible, we can’t be predictable. We need to sometimes have the left-right combinations.”

In the final T20I on Sunday, India shuffled things up as they stepped on to field without the experience of Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant, who were both rested. Instead, India opted to give Ruturaj Gaikwad a game and as a result, Rohit Sharma was demoted down the order to keep Ishan Kishan as the opener while Shreyas Iyer was given the crucial No. 3 spot.

“All the stats and data tell you the value of left-right combination, left-arm spinner to left-hand batsman - we all know that stuff. We want our players to be flexible, and that we may need to move them around, and I think they’ve responded really well,” he said.

“They want to embrace that, understand the value of that, and so, yes, certainly through that middle order, it’s an area we want to improve and get better at.”

Dravid said, “Especially while batting first, we want to set good totals. Sometimes you need that flexibility when you want to take down certain bowlers or combinations or scenarios, you need to have potentially the right people batting in a really short game.”

“Sometimes five or six balls, with the right batsman against the right bowler, can actually be the difference in the game.”

Apart from seeing the abilities of Venkatesh Iyer, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav in the batting department, the series also saw debuts being handed down to wrist-spinner Ravi Bishnoi and fast-bowlers Avesh Khan. According to Dravid, the build-up to the World Cup in Australia is likely to be used to provide Rohit Sharma with a squad wherein the young players have played 15-20 games so he has already had a chance to play them in different positions and match situations.

“There’s a time frame where you can say we want to freeze in this team. We don’t want to cast our net too wide and we don’t want to restrict ourselves to 15 players as well. We saw today with Deepak [Chahar] getting injured, Suryakumar Yadav getting hit on his hand, the Covid issues we had in Ahmedabad - where we couldn’t play three-four players.”

“It also needs to be balanced around the fact that we need to have a few back-ups if injuries happen. They can happen with times like these with bubbles, quarantines. We are seeing injuries,” said Dravid.

“We are pretty clear with the balance and combination we want. We are just structuring the team around it and balancing individual workloads as well. We have a fair idea between Rohit, the selectors, the management, about the kind of skills we are looking at for Australia.”

“The guys who are in the running - we want to give players a fair chance to stake their claims also. We don’t want to set ourselves in stone too early as well.”

The next challenge for the team after the Indian team is set to begin with the Sri Lanka Tour of India which begins on February 24.