Rahul Dravid received a lot of criticism for his team selection for the third ODI against Sri Lanka, where he had made six changes in the Playing XI.
Sunil Gavaskar Slams Rahul Dravid
Among those who raised eyebrows was Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar who argued that players were getting India caps rather too easily, without fully deserving it.
Unlike the third ODI where the changes were made after India had already sealed the series, Dravid making wholesale changes in the Playing XI for the second T20 didn’t create any controversy as he was left with no choice.
After Krunal Pandya tested positive for the coronavirus, eight other players were identified as his close contacts and were sent into isolation, thus ruling them out of the series.
With nine players unavailable for selection, India were down to 11 men and the visitors went into the match with just five specialist batsmen and six bowlers.
Despite losing his key players, Dravid didn’t make any excuses and argued that all the players who were picked in the 20-man squad were good enough to feature in the Playing XI.
He even slammed those who had criticized him over his team selection and said that making the Indian squad in a country where so many play the game clearly proves that the players have something special about them.
He also added that selectors didn’t send them just to warm the bench and or on a paid holiday and they fully deserved the chance they got.
“After we wrapped up the ODI series, we tried to give a few people a chance. Obviously, circumstances here have forced us to do it here even before we managed to win the series. But I truly believe that if you’re selected to play for India – whether it’s 15 players or 20 players – you’re good enough to play in the XI. I don’t really think that the selectors select you in the 15 just to warm the bench or select you for a holiday,” Dravid said before the match.
“Certainly, that’s not the message I have been given. I look at the squad, the 20 guys who are here, each one of them has got here through sheer weight of performances. It’s not easy in India. People earn the right to come here. It’s not every time that we’re going to give everyone a chance here but it’s really nice to be able to give as many as you can a chance, if possible and due to various reasons we are probably able to do that this time.”
“They are earning their India caps. I don’t get that argument. What do you mean by earning your India cap? As I said, if you’re selected in a team of 15 – with Covid now it’s become 20, you are selected keeping in mind that you may need to play in the 11 at any given point of time. You have certainly earned the right to get that cap. It’s up to you to take the opportunity and perform. I truly believe everyone who is here has earned it,” he added.
Meanwhile, despite missing some of their key players Shikhar Dhawan led India gave a tough fight to the hosts and took the game deep but unfortunately, it wasn’t their day, and finished on the wrong side of the result.