'This series was our last chance to try out some players' - Rahul Dravid defends India's disastrous 2nd ODI experiment
India lost to the West Indies by six wickets in the second ODI at the Kensington Oval in Barbados.
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India employed a revised lineup in the second ODI against the West Indies, resting skipper Rohit Sharma and veteran Virat Kohli. The team led by Hardik Pandya struggled, losing to the home team by six wickets on Saturday, July 29, at the Kensington Oval in Barbados.
Many criticised the squad for resting Rohit and Kohli, asserting it as one of the reasons for their setback. However, Rahul Dravid, India's head coach, upheld the decision to rest senior batters and experiment with a new playing XI. The former India cricketer stated that they wanted to try out certain players in preparation for 2023's Asia Cup and Cricket World Cup, especially because some key players of the team are sidelined due to injuries.
"This (series) was our last chance to try out some of our players. We have a few players injured at the NCA. With a month to go for the Asia Cup, we're running out of time in a lot of ways. We're hopeful that some of them will be fit for the Asia Cup and the World Cup. We can't take those chances. We've to try out other players and give some chances so that in a worst-case scenario they have some game time behind them," Dravid said during the post-match presentation.
"It gives us some time to make decisions on players. We just felt that, in a series like this, with just two-three matches to go before the Asia Cup, playing Virat and Rohit would not have given us too many answers. With the injuries we have at the NCA and some uncertainty around them, we wanted to give the other boys some chance. So that, if required, they can play," he added.
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We will always look at the bigger picture: Dravid
Despite India's dismal performance in the second ODI, Rahul Dravid stated that they were looking at the bigger picture. The 50-year-old stated that they may have to take certain risks when preparing for big tournaments since they need to build some players and obtain some solutions for specific positions, especially given their current predicament. Furthermore, India's loss to the West Indies was their first in ODIs against the opponent after nine consecutive victories.
"We will always look at the bigger picture. At this stage in the cycle, with the Asia Cup and the World Cup coming up, in some ways, with the injuries that we have, we have to look at the bigger picture. We can't look at every single game and every single series. If we do that, I think it will be a mistake.
"Today to give people chances, Virat and Rohit sat out. We might have to take those risks, take those chances in situations like that. If we're building for big tournaments and big events, we need to build some players and get some answers for specific positions, especially considering the situation we're in," the 50-year-old concluded.