We don't care about T20 cricket, says Indian coach Ravi Shastri
What's the story?
Following India's defeat of Sri Lanka in the third T20I, Indian coach Ravi Shastri praised the team and also conceded that the team does not care about the T20 format. The main objective behind the T20I matches is not winning but giving chances to the youngsters ahead of the 2019 World Cup, he said.
Talking about India's performance in the series in a post-match chat, Shastri said, "That's the hallmark of a good team, where we respect oppositions, and when you respect oppositions you stay grounded. T20 cricket for us, we don't care. You win or lose, it doesn't matter, but give youngsters the opportunity so you come to know who is in the fray for 2019. Big headache for us."
In case you didn't know...
After winning the Test series 1-0 and the ODI series 2-1, India started off the T20I series against the Lankans with a massive 93-run win in the first T20I in Cuttack before the teams moved to Indore for the second match of the series. There, captain Rohit Sharma scored a 43-ball 118 to set up India's series win.
In the dead rubber at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, the Men in Blue posted a close win and whitewashed their South Asian rivals in the series.
In the recently-concluded series, India has tried a few names with the 2019 World Cup in mind. The likes of Jaydev Unadkat, the only left-arm bowler in the Indian domestic circuit who is in contention for a place in the Indian side, teenage sensation Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj, Basil Thampi and Deepak Hooda were included in the side, with an opportunity to prove themselves.
Unfortunately, only Unadkat, Washington and Siraj got a chance to play in the series while the other two did not feature in the playing XI.
It is good to see the Indian team management giving opportunities to some deserving candidates to prove themselves ahead of the 2019 World Cup. But the statement "T20 cricket for us, we don't care. You win or lose, it doesn't matter" coming from the coach of the Indian team is not acceptable, as T20 is one of three officially recognized formats that has a World Cup.
While the overseas teams are making full use of the IPL by giving chances to players who are performing well and improving in the format, the Indian team coach coming out and saying the above statement makes fans reconsider the purpose of the two-month long extravaganza.
I hope that this format is taken seriously as well, and as selector MSK Prasad said in the Press Conference after announcing the squad for South Africa ODIs, it will be great to have specialized teams for every format as it will reduce the players' workload and allow them to concentrate on just one format.