Team India head coach Rahul Dravid has defended the decision to rest big players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah, saying that it would be ‘unwise’ to expect everyone being available all the time.
With the Indian Premier League (IPL) having concluded on 29 May, the focus now shifts back to international cricket, with India, led by stand-in skipper KL Rahul, taking on South Africa in a five-match home T20I series. The series will act as a tuneup to the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year but star players like the trio have been rested keeping the workload management in mind.
“Rohit is our all-format player. It would be unwise to expect everyone to be available all the time. We want them to be fit and fresh as well. There would be times where we would have to rest our big players,” Dravid said at the pre-match press conference in Delhi on Tuesday.
All three were part of the IPL 2022, with Rohit’s MI, where Bumrah also plays, suffering a league-stage exit. RCB, meanwhile, missed out on the final after going down to RR in Qualifier 2.
The first T20I will be played at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi on Thursday.
Dravid urged the Indian top-order to deliver. “We are looking for good starts. We know our top 3. If it is high scoring games, we would want them to maintain that strike rate throughout but there would be tricky matches too. We have the kind of quality at top 3, who can deliver,” continued the former India batter.
Unlike the Indian team, South Africa have named a star-studded squad with Temba Bavuma leading the side. GT’s IPL 2022 winner David Miller, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Marco Jansen and Quinton de Kock are some of the big names who will take part in the upcoming series.
India, meanwhile, will be led by KL Rahul, and SRH’s Umran Malik, who shone with his ball and pace finds place in the squad, so does Arshdeep Singh. Hardik Pandya will be looking to utilise his all-round abilities, while Dinesh Karthik too returns to the T20I side after a prolonged absence.
The first T20I will be followed by four more matches on 12, 14, 17 and 19 June.