‘We’ve 11 to choose from and all are playing’: Rahul Dravid

Written by Vipin Darwade

Team India head coach for the Sri Lanka tour, Rahul Dravid had mentioned before the start of the series that many youngsters might get a chance and that has certainly come true albeit the situation might not be ideal. The Indian team had to play all the 11 players in the squad as that’s how many were left after all-rounder Krunal Pandya, who tested positive for COVID-19 and eight players, who were in his close contacts were ruled out of the series having been put into isolation.

India handed five debuts in the final ODI of the three-match series having taken an unassailable lead in the series. However, they had no option but to hand debuts to four players in the second T20I, since they were the only ones left in the squad to play. Thankfully for them, in the COVID-19 situation, the teams have to take larger squads and it came to their rescue at the Gabba during the Test tour to Australia and now in Colombo.

Talking to the host broadcaster about giving chances to new players, Dravid said, “It has turned out that way. We tried to do that in the one-days as well after we had wrapped up the series trying to give a few people a chance. Obviously, circumstances have probably forced us to do it here even before we have managed to win this series.”

Dravid also mentioned that selectors don’t select players in the squad for them to warm the bench or a holiday but because they deserve that place and are good enough to play in the 11.

“I believe if you are selected to play for India, you should be good enough to be in the XI. I don’t think the selectors select you in the squad for you to warm the bench or for a holiday. Certainly, that’s not the message I have been given. Truly I think when I look at the 20 guys that have been selected here for this tour, each one of them has got here through sheer weight of performances.

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Vipin Darwade