Ahead of the first game of the three-match T20 series against South Africa (SA), Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli defended the team selection, which focuses on bolstering the lower batting order. He made these remarks in a press conference on Saturday. While the first game will be played at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association ground in Dharamshala, Mohali and Bengaluru will host the remaining T20 internationals. Thereafter, India and South Africa will square off in three Test matches.
The Indian skipper spoke about the inclusion of new and young players in the T20 squad. He remarked that the intention behind this was to give opportunities to the players who had done well over the last couple of years in domestic and T20 cricket including the Indian Premier League. Kohli emphasized that the team management's aim was to find out their best balance as a side and not to necessarily stick to only one kind of combination. On being questioned about the inclusion of many players who could bat, he backed the decision by pointing out the fact that teams across the world had a batting line-up till number 9 or 10. Kohli mentioned that the selectors had to take a call on the inclusion of certain players at some juncture. Stating that the T20 World Cup was scheduled for next year, the Indian skipper reckoned that this would be an excellent opportunity to check how the players performed at the international level.
India has opted to field its frontline batsmen like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan in the T20 series. Besides this, players like Rahul Chahar, Deepak Chahar, Sundar Washington, and Navdeep Saini have been included in the squad, implying that the bowling attack is slightly inexperienced. On the other hand, Quinton De Kock will take up the reins of captaincy for SA in the T20 format. Both test skipper Francois Du Plessis and ace pacer Dale Steyn have not been considered for selection in the shorter format of the game. Hashim Amla’s sudden retirement has also compounded problems for the visiting side. On their last tour of India in 2015, SA won the ODI and T20 series. However, they were badly trounced 0-3 in the Tests.