Dravid is pleased that players returning from injuries got 'game-time' ahead of World Cup

11:32 AM Sep 28, 2023 | PTI |

India coach Rahul Dravid is relieved that key players such as Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer, who are all coming back from injuries, could get enough miles in their legs ahead of the ODI World Cup, starting in a week’s time.


Bumrah, who was troubled by a back issue that kept him out for long, bowled his full quota of overs in Mohali and Rajkot – the two matches he played against Australia – but was a bit expensive in the series-concluding third ODI.

The fast bowler had made a comeback during the T20 series against Ireland last month and also competed in Asia Cup in Sri Lanka. Iyer, who is expected to bat at number four, struck a hundred in Indore and also contributed 48 in Rajkot.

Rahul not only batted in an impressive fashion, scoring two half centuries, he also kept the wickets, allaying concerns around his fitness.

”For all those guys game-time was important. The fact that they have been able to get that is I think something that we are much better off for it,” Dravid said after the third ODI that India lost by 66 runs. ”Jassi has been able to play a couple of games and bowl his quota of 10 overs, Siraj (was) suffering from a little bit of bug but he got back and was able to bowl,” he said. ”(For) Ashwin, it was really nice to see the way he bowled in the first two games. KL as well, the keeping right through the 50 overs, he is coming off after almost 6-7 months.


”Shreyas has played a couple of really good knocks in the last couple of games. We know we have to keep improving but also hope that we carry this momentum into the World Cup,” the India coach added. Off-spinner R Ashwin’s inclusion in the squad for the Australia series had triggered speculation that he might be included in the final World Cup squad. However, David was non-committal. All the teams are required to finalise their World Cup squads by Thursday. ”We have to wait for an official confirmation or a decision on that. The NCA is in touch with the selectors and Ajit (Agarkar) so I will not make any comments on that. If there is any change you will get to hear about it officially, as of now there are no changes,” Dravid said, hinting that Axar Patel will be retained in the 15-man squad. The india coach expects India’s full strength squad to assemble in Guwahati ahead of the first warm-up match against England on September 30. India had only 13 players to pick their final eleven against Australia here on Wednesday as some members Shardul Thakur, Hardik Pandya and Mohammed Shami returned home while Ishan Kishan missed the contest due to a bug going around in the group ”The two practice or warm-up games, generally people play 15 versus 15, it is tough to sometimes get the intensity in those games but as we have seen in these three games, in hot conditions there has been a lot of intensity as well,” Dravid added. ”There was a bit of juggling we had to manage in this game but I am hoping that we have got about a week, we have got a few days. We should have the full strength squad, hopefully the bug around the group has cleared out as well. It will be nice if that happens,” the coach said. Talking about the big loss in the Rajkot ODI, Dravid blamed it on giving away too many runs in the first half of the Australian innings.

”In the overall scheme of things probably 350 was 30 (runs) too many. We should have been chasing 320 if we had bowled better in the first half,” he said. Rohit Sharma (81) and Virat Kohli (56) added 70 runs but the team lost the plot after their partnership was broken. Dravid, however, was pleased to see the two senior batters were among runs right after a break. ”We were on par when Virat and Rohit were batting. We needed one of the top three to get 130 or 140. In these chases you need these kinds of scores,” he said. ”Unfortunately it did not happen, but a good thing from our perspective is that both of them batted really well — that is a positive. They are coming off not playing cricket for a week so it was nice to get straight into it and get runs for us,” he said.


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