Samson & Shivam eye ajar door
Mumbai all-rounder Shivam Dube could make his international debut when India face Bangladesh in the first of the three T20Is, at the Kotla on Sunday.
Stand-in captain Rohit Sharma acknowledged the experience of Kerala wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson too, while backing Delhi boy Rishabh Pant who has been criticised lately for not making the most of his opportunities in the limited-overs version.
“We will assess probably a bit before the game as well. But both (Dube and Samson) are definitely in the fray. One of them might be a part of the playing XI. All doors are open for everyone. Anyone might come into the playing XI any moment,” said Rohit at the pre-match media conference.
Conditions, obviously, will determine India’s combination for the game. “A lot has got to do with how the pitch is going to play. If the pitch is slow, slow bowlers come into the play a lot.If it means we have to play three spinners, then we will do exactly that. And if there is grass and we feel there will be some bounce, then we might play three seamers as well. So, everything depends on the conditions,” Rohit explained.
As for Pant, Rohit feels it’s still too soon to pass a judgement on him. “We have to back Rishabh. He has only played 15-20 T20Is, so it’s too soon to judge him. There’s still lot of time left before passing a judgement on Rishabh,” he said.
Going by what Rohit said, it’s certainly an indication that Pant could be the man behind the stumps for India in Sunday’s game, which means Samson may have to sit out.
The younger generation providing a lot of options is something that really pleases the team management.
“Sanju is one of the players. He has been performing quite well in the domestic circuit and the IPL, and Shivam is somebody who has come into the ranks last year. He made his mark just before last year’s IPL auction, which is why people were so keen to buy him,” Rohit said.
“There are a lot of new guys in the squad. They have not played a lot of T20Is for India, so we have to give them opportunities and see what we have before we go for the T20 World Cup in Australia.”
A settled middle order is what India have been looking for since long, and they certainly need to sort things out going into next year’s T20 World Cup. Rohit, however, emphasised the need to shift from chop-and-change policy in order to provide the youngsters a sense of security.
Asked how the team management is looking to address the struggling middle order, Rohit said: “We have lot of options. They need to get more games under their belt to be more confident and get the job done. The team, a few years ago, was very much settled, so there was not much room for a younger player to come in and grab that opportunity.There has always been a chop and change between numbers 4, 5, 6 and 7 as well. So now this is the best time for us to try out these guys — Shreyas Iyer, Shivam, Manish Pandey and then Rishabh as well. There are a lot of guys who can do the job.”
However, Rohit did agree that the road ahead is tough for youngsters trying to find a place in this Indian set-up. “When they play for their IPL teams, it’s different. When they come here, it is a different ball game altogether.”
Further explaining India’s preparations for next year’s big event, Rohit said the team needs to better its performance while batting first. “Our numbers are very good when we chase, whether it’s in India or outside. Something we really want to focus is on posting targets and defending them. That is where we are lacking.”
l Match starts: 7 pm.