Hyderabad, Jan 24: On the eve of the Test series opener against England, India captain Rohit Sharma expressed the importance of giving youngsters an opportunity in the longer format, adding that the team doesn’t want to be in a situation where they are including a newbie in overseas conditions.
With Virat Kohli unavailable for first two Tests due to personal reasons, Rajat Patidar has been called into the squad, ahead of more experienced cricketers like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane.
"We actually did think about going back to an experienced player (to fill Kohli's absence). But then when will the youngsters get their opportunity, and that’s something we thought as well. Leaving an experienced player or not considering them is very hard because of the amount of runs they have scored, the kind of experience they have had and amount of games they have won for us. It’s very hard to ignore all of that.”
“But sometimes you get certain players into the set-up as well, and you got to give them the favourable conditions, as you don’t want to expose or bring them directly on foreign tours, where they have not played before. That’s the thought behind all of that and it’s important to try and get some of these youngsters in whenever there’s an opportunity,” said Rohit in the pre-match press conference.
Patidar was recently with India ‘A’ squad, currently playing against England Lions in Ahmedabad and made 151 off 158 balls in the first four-day match in a pressure situation. India also have to decide for their specialist wicketkeeper between an experienced KS Bharat and uncapped youngster Dhruv Jurel ahead of the first Test starting at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on January 25.
“Again, by no means the doors are closed on anyone – as long as they stay fit and keep scoring runs, anyone will be welcomed back into the set-up. Having said that, it’s important to look at some of the other players as we don’t want to end up in a situation where seven to eight guys have barely 20-25 Test matches between themselves. So whenever you have the opportunity, give them some game time," added Rohit.
The series has been billed as India aiming to defend its record of not having lost a Test series at home after the 2-1 series defeat to England. The visitors’, led by Ben Stokes and coached by Brendon McCullum, are yet to lose a Test series since the duo took over the team leadership via their attacking approach of playing the game.
“We will look to play our cricket. I am not interested in looking at how the opposition is going to play and all of that. For us, it’s important that we look into our cricket, focus on what we need to do as a team and then take it from there,” added Rohit on countering the attacking plots from England.
The last time India played Tests, it was earlier this month in Cape Town against South Africa, where Rohit & Co came out on top in what was also the shortest match in the history of the format.
"The Cape Town win was good but this match is in Hyderabad. It is different conditions and against different opposition. But that win (in Cape Town) has given us a lot of confidence and we can take that into this series.”
“The atmosphere at this point of time in the changing room is pretty good and that is what happens when you win games. The game at Cape Town was short, but we managed to come out on top, which was good. If you win games, nothing is better than that,” concluded Rohit. (IANS)