An Indian T20 side led by Rohit Sharma, and without the likes of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli will take to the field against Sri Lanka today in the first match of the tri-nation Nidahas Trophy. Bangladesh is the third team in the tournament.
And while an under-strength Indian team is still favoured to lift the trophy, captain Rohit Sharma has said that any team can beat the other in the T20 format, likening it to the unpredictability of the English Premier League.
Speaking ahead of the first match of the tri-series, Sharma said, “Whether we are favourites or not, that is not something I think about. T20 is such a format where any team can win on that particular day. The game can change in a span of one over, it can slip away on a given day, any team can beat anyone. How do I explain it? Its like the English Premier League. Some teams may be stronger, but anyone can win on a given day.”
Apart from Kohli and Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have also been rested for the series. When Sharma was asked about leading an under-strength Indian side in the series, he said, “I don’t look at it that way that I don’t have the full team. I’m very fortunate to get the opportunity to lead the team. Given the schedule nowadays and the amount of cricket we play, it’s important to look after players and give them enough rest when needed. Whenever I’ve been asked to put on the captaincy cap, it’s been an honour.”
He added, “It’s always important to know your bench strength. We’re lucky that we have got quality players who are waiting to do well. They have been consistently performing in A tours, Ranji Trophy, IPL cricket. It’s the right time to blood them. We want to see how they play here and not rush them in ICC tournaments directly, we don’t want them to be taken by surprise. We want to see where they stand as individuals.”
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan coach Chandika Hathurasinghe said that even a second string Indian side will pose a challenge to the teams in the tournament. He also hinted that it would have been good if a full strength Indian team was taking to the field.
“If you go by the ratings, India is the No 1 team, so they always start ahead of the other teams,” he said. “Whoever comes for India is a very strong team. We have to start well because we haven’t been doing well at home. With Bangladesh, because of the last series, we probably have a little edge over them mentally. But still India is the No 1 team.”
“We can’t control their selection. We are playing the India team so whoever they play on that day we prepare for them. If the stars are there its good for the spectators, but unfortunately at this stage they’ve come with a different team,” Hathurasinghe concluded.