India vs Zimbabwe 2016: Indian squad leaves for Zimbabwe tour
The Indian Cricket team has left for Harare for the ODI and T20 series against Zimbabwe, that consists of three ODIs as well as three T20Is, being captained by MS Dhoni. Most of the senior players have been rested like Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan to name a few.
MS Dhoni, along with four other players – Mandeep Singh, Jayant Yadav, KL Rahul and Dhawal Kulkarni, held a mandatory press conference on Tuesday evening in Mumbai. Although India don’t have a fixed head coach yet, former Indian cricketer and batting coach Sanjay Bangar will take the role of interim head coach for this tour.
The team at Bangar’s disposal will be a very young team, with several of those making their debuts. What’s interesting is that in total, Dhoni has 275 ODIs and 68 T20s, in comparison to his team’s collective 83 ODIs and 28 T20s.
The World Cup winning captain assured the fans that he will take this tour seriously and said that his job will be to assess the strengths of his teammates on the tour. He said: “I will have to quickly assess what their strengths are and at the same time, depending on the team composition, what is the best possible slot or best possible manner the individual can be utilised. The composition looks good. It is a good team.”
Indian fast bowler Ashish Nehra missed out on this opportunity after suffering a serious injury in the 2016 IPL. Murli Vijay also missed out after not being fit for the tour due to a niggle. Test captain, Virat Kohli also missed out as he needs some well-deserved rest after IPL.
Dhawal Kulkarni had an excellent season in the IPL as he took 18 wickets and he will be one bowler to look for on the tour. While leaving for the tour, he said: “Everywhere you go and wherever you play, you have to stick to your basics and back your stock ball and my stock ball is to hit the right line and length and that’s what I kept doing with the new ball.
“There has been a lot of practice behind that and that’s what helped me in this IPL,” before leaving for the tour.
Debutant Mandeep Singh also had something to say: "Obviously, it's a big opportunity for all of us.My goal is to perform well and make myself an important part of the team.
“I'm quite confident because, especially in the shorter format, I've been doing well for the past 2-3 years. It's a big opportunity and I will try to make the most of it."
Indian squad for Zimbabwe tour:
MS Dhoni (c)(wk), KL Rahul, Faiz Fazal, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, Ambati Rayudu, Rishi Dhawan, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Barinder Sran, Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Jaydev Unadkat, Yuzvendra Chahal