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Rahul Dravid defends decision to exclude Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli for 2nd ODI against West Indies Rahul Dravid
Image: UNI

Rahul Dravid defends decision to exclude Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli for 2nd ODI against West Indies

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 30 Jul 2023, 08:55 pm

Barbados: India coach Rahul Dravid has defended his decision to leave out two key players from the side that lost the second ODI to the West Indies in Barbados on Saturday.

The Asian side rested skipper Rohit Sharma and fellow experienced batsman Virat Kohli for the 50-over encounter and the move backfired as the Caribbean team cruised to a six-wicket triumph that squared the series at 1-1 ahead of the series decider in Tarouba.

Dravid explained the selection decision when speaking with reporters following the emphatic loss and said it was important for him to get a look at fringe players like Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav ahead of the upcoming Asia Cup and ICC Men's Cricket World Cup later this year.

"This was the last chance we had to try out some of our players," Dravid said.

"We have got a few of our players who are injured who are in the NCA (National Cricket Academy).

"With a month to go until the Asia Cup, we are running out of time in a lot of ways.

"We are hopeful that some of them (injured players) will be fit for the Asia Cup and the World Cup, but we can’t take those chances.

"We have to try out other people and give other people chances so in a worst-case scenario at least they have game time behind them and it gives us an opportunity to make some decisions on players

"In a series like this with only two or three matches to go, playing Rohit and Virat would not have given us too many answers.

"With the injuries we have in the NCA and some uncertainty surrounding them, we wanted to give some of the other boys a chance so if required they can play."

While Kishan impressed at the top of the order with another half-century, Samson (9) and Suryakumar (24) missed golden opportunities to push their case to be included in Dravid's squad for the home World Cup later this year as India squandered a 90-run opening partnership when the team was skittled out for just 181 on a difficult batting pitch in Bridgetown.

"We knew it was a tricky wicket and not an easy wicket to bat on and we knew we needed to get 230 or 240 and we felt that would have been a very good and competitive score," Dravid added.

"We lost wickets in bunches after Shubman (Gill) and Ishan gave us a good start.

"But we needed someone to bat until the end and we lost wickets in the middle and were 50 or 60 runs short."

And while Dravid wants to win every match and every series India contests, he knows sometimes what lies ahead is of greater importance.

"We will always look at the bigger picture," Dravid noted.

"At this stage of the cycle with the Asia Cup and World Cup coming up, because of the injuries we have, we have to look at the bigger picture.

"We cant get worried about every single game and every single series and if we do that I think it will be a mistake."

(With UNI Inputs)  

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