Rohit Sharma. PTI Photo
Kolkata: "Experiment" is the buzz word in any global tournament year but Indian captain Rohit Sharma finds it a tad "over-rated" and he does not want the juniors in the team to feel insecure.
With T20 World Cup in Australia scheduled layer this year, Rohit knows that some of the slots, like pace and spin bowling all-rounders still need to be filled and he wants youngsters to get adequate chances.
"The word 'experiment' is a little overrated in my terms. We are trying to fill in that gap in our squad, so whatever it takes we will try and do," Rohit said during a virtual media interaction on the eve of the opening T20 against the West Indies.
So is he going to experiment in the lead upto the World T20, the skipper answered in negative.
"Not necessarily experiment, because all these guys are very young, not played a lot of cricket to keep experimenting with them. "We need to give them that assurance that game time, once we have that then we can try out. Till then we need to fill those gaps. Whatever it takes, we will do that," the team leader said.
India have a packed white ball calendar in the build up to the T20 World Cup in exactly eight months' time. They next face Sri Lanka in three T20Is which will be followed by a Test series.
"The idea is to identify the players who are going to play the World Cup and give them the game time. There are a lot of players who are injured. Come the World Cup, we don't know who's going to be fit and who's not.
"We just want to give the other guys the chance and be ready for that. We have a very packed schedule and injuries are bound to happen.
"So it's important that we give the guys who are going to fill those roles enough game time as well," he said.
Can Hardik play as pure batter?
There were question marks over Hardik Pandya's bowling fitness in the last T20 World Cup in November last year in UAE. He has been out of International cricket since then recovering from his recurring back injury.
But skipper Rohit said that the door is still open for him.
"Door is open to everyone. It's too early to make a decision on who will play in the World Cup. We have to make sure we have the right combination," Rohit said.
Since Hardik's injury, India have tried out many options to find a replacement for the ace pace bowling all-rounder with the likes of Venkatesh Iyer, Shardul Thakur but none has been able to leave a Pandya-like impression.
Asked whether they're looking at bringing in Hardik as a pure batter, Rohit said they have not had any discussion on the allrounder as yet.
"Hardik is a very important player. He brings three skills to the table. We have not discussed on him as yet, whether he can play as a pure batter or not. From the last World Cup, we have struggled with a lot of injuries so players are missing out.
"The most important thing is that everyone is available and then we will take the next step. The important thing is that all players are available."
Kul-Cha, great wicket taking options
The wrist spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal -- 'Kul-Cha' -- are back in the reckoning, even though the both are yet to play together again.
Chahal made a big impression in the first two ODIs in Ahmedabad taking five wickets, while left-arm chinaman Kuldeep bagged two wickets in the final ODI.
The Indian skipper also gave a similar assurance to give the duo enough game time to prove themselves again.
"Kuldeep and Chahal have been great assets for us in the past and they will continue to be. Without a doubt, they are the wicket taking options in the middle, powerplay and whenever the captain expects them to flight the ball and take wickets."
Chahal has already hit the straps and Rohit expects Kuldeep to follow the suit.
"Chahal obviously has got into his rhythm and Kuldeep will need some time. He played an International game after a while. We just need to give him some more time. "Things should start falling in place for them. It will start with us, giving them the confidence and game time making sure that they have the backing and support for the team."
Different Australian venues require different skills
The skipper said he would be looking at both spin and pace bowling all rounder for various Australian venues. "In Australia, you will see different conditions across Melbourne, Sydney and Perth."
He is even looking at options where some can get it to tweak with new ball.
"We will have to ensure that we have both spin and pace bowling all-rounders who can bowl well with the new ball, and in the death and also who can spin with the new ball." ]
Feeling fit and fine, skipper assures
Rohit, who missed the Test and ODI series in South Africa due to a hamstring injury, made his comeback as a fulltime captain in a one-sided 3-0 sweep against the West Indies in the ODI leg in Ahmedabad.
"I'm feeling absolutely fine at the moment. Personally, I'm very happy to be back playing for India. I was going through a lot of stuff in the last two months to understand my body and what we need to do on the field.
"There are some specific drills that I've to follow to ensure that there are no injury concerns for the future," he concluded.