India were forced to field a new-look team in the second T20I against Sri Lanka as nine of their players were in isolation after being identified as close contacts to Krunal Pandya who tested positive for COVID-19.
Although several reports were surfacing that the series could be called off, a late decision was taken by both boards to go ahead with the series. Four players – Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devdutt Padikkal, Chetan Sakariya, and Nitish Rana made their debut in the second T20I.
While few critics and fans were happy for the four youngsters making their debuts, several were critical of too many players getting rewarded with India caps during the limited-overs series. However, head coach Rahul Dravid didn’t agree to this theory and felt everyone who have been selected in the squad are fit enough to represent India.
“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 for a holiday,” Dravid told the broadcaster ahead of the start of the 2nd T20I in Colombo.
None of the debutants, however, could grab the opportunity as India went down to Sri Lanka by 4 wickets. The series is now tied at 1-1 with the final to be played on Thursday. Dravid said that each and every individual in the squad has earned his India cap and was selected keeping in mind that he will be needed to give his services to the team at some point in the series.
“They are earning their India caps. I don’t get that argument. Like 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 that opportunity and perform. I truly believe everyone who’s here has earned it,” he added.