Kolkata, Nov 5 – Indian cricket team’s head coach, Rahul Dravid, stated that the team is prepared to navigate the remainder of the tournament with just five primary bowling options, including relying on Virat Kohli as a potential sixth bowler. This decision follows the news of all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s withdrawal from the tournament due to injury.
With Pandya’s absence, India is expected to maintain its current team balance, featuring Suryakumar Yadav at number six and just five recognized bowlers in the playing XI.
Dravid acknowledged that this selection isn’t ideal but humorously mentioned Virat Kohli as a bowling option, recalling Kohli’s three deliveries in a previous match against Bangladesh.
“The fact is that we will not be in a position to have a proper sixth option,” Dravid said. “We do have the option to call upon our wrong-footed, in-swinging menace. And with the crowd behind him, I’d back him for a couple of overs there and a few wickets.”
Dravid also pointed out that they have been playing without a proper sixth bowling option in recent games and that even before the World Cup, they played a couple of matches in a similar fashion during the Australia series.
The decision to bring fast bowler Prasidh Krishna into the squad doesn’t necessarily mean India will stick with their current balance. Dravid clarified that the inclusion of Krishna was primarily to provide a backup for seam bowlers, especially given Hardik’s injury concerns.
India’s next match is against South Africa, a team that has already qualified for the knockout stages. However, Dravid emphasized that they are not considering this game as a dress rehearsal for the final. It’s viewed as a crucial league phase match, and both teams will need to earn their place in the knockout stage.