The Indian coach praised the contributions of the middle order, and was also happy with how the team coped with the absence of Hardik Pandya
Rahul Dravid, the India coach, ruled out the possibility of making changes to the XI for their final World Cup league game against the Netherlands, even though they are guaranteed to finish on top of the points table. India have played the same XI in their last four matches, the last of which was against South Africa on November 5.
“I mean, honestly, we have six days off from the last game,” said Dravid on the eve of the match in Bengaluru. “So, we’ve had a bit of a rest. We have one game before the semi-final and the boys are in good shape. That’s all I can say without giving too much away.”
Dravid was asked if someone like Prasidh Krishna, an injury replacement for Hardik Pandya, would get a chance just to prepare him if he is needed in a knockout game.
“So now at this stage, it’s just about focusing on getting the guys who you think will play in the XI in the best possible space mentally and physically, to play in the semi-final and, hopefully, the end. if we earn it,” he said. “So that’s the one-point mindset. There are times for bigger-picture thinking and there are times for narrow-focus thinking in my opinion and now is the time for narrow-focus thinking when everything is appropriate.”
Dravid is looking to underline the efforts of India’s middle order, considering two of the three players – Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul – are recovering from serious injuries and have missed most of the run-up. of India in the World Cup.
“Yes, it’s amazing,” Dravid said. “I answered this question when I remember in Chennai. I said that the middle orders can be very, very important in a tournament like this. How good your middle order is in, sometimes, very difficult circumstances and challenging situations under pressure actually go on.to perhaps judge how well you are doing.
“While our top order also performed well, I think our middle order played critical roles. Sometimes you can’t judge them by their numbers. It’s clear that if you look at a leaderboard of those points and runs, it’s always going to be someone in the top three. I mean, it’s obvious. You look across the board and it’s all filled with guys from whatever country are in the top three.
“That only gives you half the picture, but it’s actually some of the 30, 40, [that are] critical knock. I can look back on this whole campaign and look at the contributions of our middle order and it just comes in kind of spurts, or a knock here, or two knocks there, and there’s one did something there, or a Shreyas, or an Ang KL, or Surya’s knock here, and Jaddu [Ravindra Jadeja] important knock on Dharamsala.
“And you can look at a lot of these little, little things, and really that’s what gives you the ticks, or gives you the wins at the end of the day. So, it’s a combination of things. And touch wood, our middle order has been outstanding in this tournament.”
Dravid was also happy with the “systems” and “processes” that India put in place at the World Cup, especially in contingencies, like the plan they adopted after Hardik Pandya’s injury. Until then, India played with another allrounder – Shardul Thakur or R Ashwin – at No. 8 for batting depth.
After Hardik’s injury, India started playing with only five bowlers and they did not miss the sixth option, where Mohammed Shami was in the team and completed a formidable attack consisting of Jasprit Bumrah , Mohammed Siraj, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav.
“I think when you play big tournaments like this, you want your best players to play. Unfortunately, in the T20 World Cup [last year], we might not have a bit of luck, especially when you lose players like Bumrah and Jaddu. In the World Test Championship, we missed a couple of guys. Even here, to be honest, we missed a couple of guys, one before the tournament and one during the tournament. But we have responded well so far. And I think it’s, again, something that I’m very proud of.
“We have a balance. We structured the whole thing around a few things. But if that doesn’t happen, we have the ability, the skill, and the mental strength to come back, and be able to still compete. and very well. So yeah, I think credit to the guys, credit to, like I said, I think even the NCA for all the work they did.
“A lot of things are behind the scenes. People don’t see it. People don’t see it. It’s not easy. Sometimes people think, oh, it’s easy to get injured players to play. Also, it’s not that Simple. You know, it’s easy to get people to play when you have an injury in normal life and get back to the park and get back to normal office work quickly, but getting people back into the professional game isn’t easy. everyone so far.”
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo