Lucknow, Oct 6 (VOICE) As the Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia starting later in the month becomes the major talking point for all cricket fans, the Shikhar Dhawan-led ODI side will be focusing on pushing their cases further for a place in the ODI World Cup to be held in India next year.
Interim head coach VVS Laxman feels that with India having incredible riches in the ODI squad, especially with youngsters like Shubman Gill shining with the bat, the selectors will have a tough time in selecting the squad once the main players come into the frame.
“The talent in the batting department, we are spoilt for choices. It’ll be difficult for the selectors to get the right team going into the 2023 50-over World Cup. All the youngsters are doing well, they know that they’ll not get too many opportunities once the main players return,” said Laxman in a chat with the broadcasters ahead of the first India-South Africa ODI at Lucknow.
With none of the players from the T20 World Cup squad available for the ODI series, Laxman refused to see the side as ‘second-string’. In the absence of main players this year, India inflicted 3-0 series sweeps over West Indies and Zimbabwe.
“Won’t consider this as second string side, they haven’t always got the chance, but they are proven match-winners. This is a chance to perform well and keep themselves in the hunt when the strongest side is being picked. Everyone is eagerly looking forward to this series.”
Further talking about the bench strength of the Indian team which is the envy of other teams in the world, Laxman remarked, “The best part is the bench strength that we have. Have a good bunch of cricketers, they are all looking forward to the series, the competition between them is good.”
“All are wanting to make a mark for themselves. (There is) an abundance of talent, all of them are looking forward to perform well. Every opportunity is what these youngsters look for.”
Apart from being the director of cricket at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), Laxman has taken up interim duties at the helm whenever head coach Rahul Dravid hasn’t been available, a role which he has enjoyed so far.
“It’s worked well so far (as a backup coach when Dravid is not there). It started from the Ireland series, the one England T20I (1st match) and the Zimbabwe series. Obviously, need to cover up for Rahul (Dravid) given his work commitments, with so much of cricket and the Indian team busy as well as the T20 WC coming up now.”
Meanwhile, opener Shubman Gill, who won player of the series awards in series wins over West Indies and Zimbabwe, is cherishing his time opening the batting alongside Dhawan.
“Very exciting to play this format, I like this format. Very happy to have executed what I have been trying. It is exciting to open with Shikhar Dhawan. He has so much experience, and he guides me as well. He tells me which way to play the bowlers.”
Gill signed off by saying pressure is not on him about next year’s ODI World Cup in the country. “There is no pressure with the (ODI) World Cup (to be held next year). We have played in these conditions, there is no pressure, but I have to do well. The World Cup is here in India, and it will be even more fun.”