Rahul Dravid addresses burning India XI question on Virat Kohli, Kuldeep Yadav for Afghanistan T20 World Cup Super 8 tie – Hindustan Times

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Jun 20, 2024 06:10 AM IST

Rahul Dravid addressed the two burning questions about India’s playing XI ahead of the T20 World Cup Super Eight game against Afghanistan

India might have scripted an unbeaten run in the 2024 T20 World Cup group stage. They may have never lost an international T20 game against Afghanistan, whom they face on Thursday in Barbados. Yet, two selection factors have been heavily discussed in the build-up to their first Super Eight match in the tournament. While largely keeping the discussion alive, India head coach Rahul Dravid addressed the two burning questions about the playing XI.

Rahul Dravid during his press conference ahead of India's match against Afghanistan
Rahul Dravid during his press conference ahead of India’s match against Afghanistan

Virat Kohli was expected to emulate his IPL 2024, where he scored 741 runs in 15 innings to win the Orange Cap, and hence was even promoted to the opening role. However, the former India captain returned with scores of just 4, 1, 0 in three games in the group stage. His performance subsequently sparked discussions on whether he should continue to open for India. Few veterans agreed, citing that tinkering the line-up might disrupt the other batters, while many were in favour of the move.

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A day after India captain Rohit Sharma indicated that the opening combination is unlikely to change, Dravid, when asked about the same, said that India will be flexible with its batting order and change it as per the situation.

Speaking to the media in Barbados on Wednesday, he said: “Each situation is unique. It is hard to keep something set in stone. I believe we should be flexible in our thinking and able to adapt to situations. I feel we have always been conscious of that. A lot of the time, you make these changes keeping something in mind, and it works sometimes or it doesn’t, but we can’t judge everything based on results. For example, in the Pakistan game, we moved Axar up the order or we moved Rishabh up the order as well. You do see it a lot more of it happening in the T20 format with teams using match-ups factor or using the dimension of the ground.”

Will Kuldeep Yadav be picked for India vs Afghanistan?

Kuldeep was rested for all the matches India played in the group-stage given that the conditions in New York favoured the fast bowlers. However, in the Caribbeans, spinners have been more effective.

India had practice sessions on both Monday and Tuesday and Kuldeep had an extended session at the nets on both days, bowling to the likes of Rohit and Kohli. If anything, it surely indicated that one between Arshdeep Singh and Mohammed Siraj will make way for the leg-spinner.

Dravid, while not giving away much of India’s plan, indicated that one of the wristspinners – Kuldeep or Yuzvendra Chahal – might get to feature in the India XI for the game against Afghanistan.

“It is tough to leave anyone out. All the four guys that we left out in the matches are all quality players. It is just the conditions and what we felt was the requirement in that particular venue made us go with that combination. Here it might be different. Not giving too much away, we might feel the need that for an extra spinner here and someone like Kuldeep or Yuzi may come into the picture and be a big factor for us, that is why we picked four spinners,” he said.

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