T20 right format to groom youngsters, insists Sharma

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T20 right format to groom youngsters, insists Sharma

Rajkot: The Twenty20 International format can be used to groom young talent and prepare them for One-day Internationals and Tests while not distracting players from winning games, stand-in India skipper Rohit Sharma said on Wednesday.

Sharma, who is captaining the side in the second T20 International against Bangladesh in Rajkot on Thursday with Virat Kohli rested for the series, is leading a young Indian side with several veterans rested.

The hosts need to win to keep the three-match series alive after going down in the opening game in New Delhi by seven wickets.

“We want to try a lot of players to make them ready for the other formats,” Sharma told a press conference at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot. “Because this is the format where these individuals can come out and express themselves so that they are ready for ODI and Test cricket.”

Sharma has been one of India’s brightest stars in limited-overs cricket, but also proved his mettle in the Test format after making a successful debut as opener in during his team’s 3-0 sweep of South Africa.

Nicknamed ‘Hitman’ for his attacking style of play, Sharma — who made his Test debut in 2013, six years after his first ODI match — scored 529 runs with two centuries and a double ton in the three matches.

“We have seen a lot of players who have emerged from this format,” Sharma said, adding players would learn valuable lessons even in defeat. “But having said that, winning games is the foremost priority.”

Paceman Khaleel Ahmed and all-rounder Shivam Dube — who made his debut in Delhi on Sunday — are just some of the players being trialled by the team’s management with an eye on the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.

Sharma, 32, said the hosts could adopt a ‘different’ approach with the bat and ball in the second match if they get a good pitch.

Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah, meanwhile, said that they are not keen to change the winning combination and only will think of it if the situation arises.

“Maybe not at this moment [change the winning combination] but when we arrive tomorrow morning or maybe in the afternoon, if we feel change is required, for instance, if the wicket is dry, then maybe we might change. But at the moment we will try to stick to our winning combination,” he told reporters. “If we compare the wicket to Delhi, I don’t know what the wicket will be like but the average score here is 170-180. Maybe we might change our game plan or approach according to situation and conditions.

“Depends on the conditions. If there is something then change may come to the winning combination. Let us see,” he added.

Mahmudullah said that since they have won the opening game they are having an edge but added that they are not keen to take anything for granted.

“What I said earlier, since we won the first match, it will give us an extra confidence for all of us. We are not sitting idle, we are all desperately waiting for tomorrow’s match. Everybody is working hard and giving their best effort in practice. We are all trying so that we can give our collective team effort to get the expected result tomorrow,” said Mahmudullah.

“See we can somewhat sense that they are looking to come back strongly. I feel that in T20s, if you can assess the wicket properly and the length and accordingly place your field, then you have a chance to do well. T20 is such that it’s important to make the right decision at the right time and if you think about it, you may have a game plan but you have to change it and so adaptability is crucial,” he said.

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