Balance of ODI side an issue, accepts head coach Dravid, rues missing likes of Hardik, Jadeja

CAPE TOWN: India’s head coach Rahul Dravid had no hesitation in admitting that the ODI squad lacked balance with the likes of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja unavailable to execute their all-round skills at numbers six and seven respectively.
India lost the three-match ODI series 0-3 and Dravid answered a range of questions covering the poor show in middle-overs both in batting and bowling, KL Rahul’s nascent captaincy career and how Venkatesh Iyer is not being thought of as a top-order batter.
“Yeah, we understand the template. Obviously, a large part of the template is also dependent on the balance of your squad,” Dravid replied when asked if the Indian team needs to revisit its template in 50-over cricket.
“I think if you are a little bit honest, some of the guys who help us balance the the squad out and give us those all-round options at Nos 6, 7 and 8 are probably not here, and available for selection,” Dravid said, clearly talking about the absence of Pandya, who is trying to get his bowling fitness back and Jadeja, who is recuperating from a knee injury.
“Hopefully, when they (Hardik and Jadeja) come back, it will give us a lot more depth, it allows us then to probably play in a slightly different style,” Dravid made it clear as to what he missed in the series.
KL did a decent job but captaincy is about execution of skills by your players
Dravid’s assessment of his namesake’s leadership skills was pretty lavish as he wanted people to factor in that he could only do as much with the kind of squad he had at his disposal.
“I thought he did a good job. Not easy to be on the wrong side of the result. He is just starting out as captain,” he said.
“…..and he will learn and a large part of captaincy is execution of skills by your players and the quality of the side you have got. We were a little bit short on the ODI side of things and I thought he did a very decent job, someone who is growing and will constantly be improving and getting better as a captain.”
There was no denying that India’s batting lacked momentum in all three games especially between overs 20 to 40.
“We certainly could do better with batting in middle overs,” Dravid said.
“But having said that, even South Africa who batted first on two occasions scored 290 as well and if I think back and look at the 30th over in both those games, we should have chased them down.
“We didn’t because we played some poor shots and we didn’t play some smart cricket at critical situations,” he said without naming anyone.
People will get security but we will also demand performances
Dravid isn’t someone who believes in taking names but when he spoke about demanding performances in lieu of security and extended run given to some middle-order batters, he obviously meant Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant.
“We certainly want to give them that consistency and we want to give them that security,” he said in a reassuring tone.
“…and once you give them that consistency and security, you also got to demand performances, really big performances and that is an expectation you have when you play at this level, when you play for your country, you have to put in big performances and that’s a requirement. But the idea is to give as much stability as you can.”
He also reminded that people like Shreyas need to put their hand up and perform considering that there is so much competition for slots.
“Whether you bat 4, 5 or 6, you have got to know what the team’s requirements are. Shreyas has gone in pretty early in all three games and he has had enough time (out there in the middle).
“We know guys have done well and we would like to back them as much as possible. Sometimes they would have good tours and sometimes, it won’t be possible, that’s just the way it is.
“Obviously, there tends to be a lot of competition, people pushing for places and its not easy in that kind of a situation,” he said.

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