Close to the conclusion of the home season, head coach Rahul Dravid said that India have narrowed down the core group of players that are most likely to play at the home edition of ICC Men’s ODI Cricket World Cup later this year. But the idea would be to try different combinations of the playing XI within that group in the remaining opportunities.

The clarity can be attributed to India’s long home season that saw the hosts winning the One Day International series played at home this year against Sri Lanka and New Zealand. However the winner of the ongoing ODI series between India and Australia will be determined in the decider set to be played at Chennai on Tuesday.

“I think, to a large extent, we are pretty clear about the squad and players we want,” Dravid said in the press conference on the eve of the third ODI.

“We have almost sort of narrowed it down to 17-18 players. We have a few guys who are sort of recovering from injuries and might come into the mix, depending on the timeframe of their recoveries and how long it takes for them to come back,” he added.

“But all in all, we are pretty much in a good space, we are pretty clear about the kind of team we want to play. Hopefully, we are able to give these guys who we have zeroed in as many playing opportunities as we can. If in India, great, but even if not in India, it’s just [a matter of ensuring that] they get as many opportunities as you can [give them] to build a side.”

He also clarified that in the build-up the mega-event, the focus will be on trying out combinations so that they can tackle all kinds of conditions they are likely to face in the World Cup.

“For us it is now the different playing XI combinations and just ensuring that we play different combinations at times just to ensure that we are able to do that in the World Cup and we are not surprised by anything in the World Cup,” he said.

On Suryakumar Yadav

The India head coach also spoke about Shreyas Iyer’s injury that ruled him out of the ODI series against Australia. Although India have options aplenty to slot in the middle-order, Suryakumar Yadav was given the nod considering his prowess in the other white-ball format. However, he has not been able to inflict the same impact in ODIs yet. In the two games he played against Australia, he was dismissed for first-ball ducks.

“Obviously. it is unfortunate for Shreyas to get injured. He is probably one of those guys who would bat at No.4 and given a lot of time at that position. If you notice we have stuck to the people in positions. For two years leading into this run, there is a lot of T20 cricket played and we did not have a lot of one-day cricket and if there are injuries and all that, we do have options,” Dravid said.

“Not really concerned about Surya. He got (dismissed by) two pretty good first-ballers. One of things about Surya is that he is learning the 50-overs game. The T20 is slightly different. In T20, he has played 10 years of IPL. He has played a lot of T20 cricket. He has played a lot of high pressure T20 games. Even though he has played a lot of t20 cricket I think he has not played a lot of one-day cricket. We need to give him some time and be patient with it. We certainly see the upside of him doing well.”

Referring to the second ODI where India capitulated in Vizag, Dravid said it was a performance he would not read too much into, while adding that the batting lineup has consistently put up big scores in this format in recent times. The key learning, he said, would be to see out Mitch Starc’s opening burst without losing too many wickets, while reserving praise for how well the left-arm pacer has bowled.

Quotes courtesy: PTI

Watch the press conference video here.