NEW DELHI: Picking up from India captain Virat Kohli‘s thoughts that a player can ideally expect five matches to prove himself, former skipper Sourav Ganguly has a different view. He believes that the best talent in the country deserves “consistent opportunities”.
The ongoing three-match T20I series against South Africa is part of the teams’ preparations for the T20 World Cup next year in Australia, but Ganguly believes the tournament shouldn’t be hyped just yet, as it can harm preparations.
“The most important thing for India is to not look at the World T20 next year,” Ganguly wrote in his column for The Times of India. “Before the last (ODI) World Cup, there was too much noise about it and that sometimes is not good. What they (Team India) need to do is pick the best possible players and give them consistent opportunities, as there is some serious talent in the domestic circuit.”
Ganguly reckoned that it’s the youngsters who will take the Indian team forward.
“Virat, Rohit (Sharma), Shikhar (Dhawan), Hardik (Pandya) and (Ravindra) Jadeja have made a mark already and the young firepower needs to come in to take this team to the next level,” the 47-year-old wrote.
Ganguly, one of India’s most successful captains, opined that the available talent in bowling and batting needs to be harnessed properly.
“The bowling department has some bright prospects. Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar and Navdeep Saini look promising; and India need to look after them so that they develop the way (Jasprit) Bumrah has.
“These guys, with time and maturity, will see Bumrah, Bhuvi (Bhuvneswhar Kumar) and (Mohammed) Shami as their role models and this will be a healthy sign for Indian fast bowling. Spinners like Rahul Chahar, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep (Yadav) and (Yuzvendra) Chahal will also keep everyone on their toes,” Ganguly reckoned.
The former left-handed batsman felt that the likes of KL Rahul will feel pushed as the youngsters progress in their international career.
“The batting department also has some exciting faces. All they need is the freedom to express themselves. Shreyas Iyer finds a place in the T20 squad, a reward for his good show in the 50-overs games in West Indies.
“With Rohit and Shikhar at the top as the best possible opening pair, KL Rahul will be pushed. He has lost his place in Test cricket due to indifferent form and the likes of Shreyas and Manish Pandey will keep him on his toes if he wants to hold onto the No. 4 slot. Hardik makes a comeback and will look to consolidate his place as the premier all-rounder in every format,” said Ganguly.
Talking about the visitors, Dada, as Ganguly is fondly called, felt that the level of South Africa’s cricket has dropped considerably.
“South Africa are in a rebuilding phase. They need to look at the system back home. Not very long ago, they boasted of having enormous talent, but like many teams, they have dropped a few levels down.
“This has been very disheartening for world cricket. The time has come for them to take a leaf out of Australia’s book and complete the rebuilding phase,” Ganguly signed off.