Dravid bats for more responsibility to Kedar Jadhav
New Delhi: The massive loss to Pakistan in the just-concluded ICC Champions Trophy final has prompted former India skipper Rahul Dravid to call for experimenting with the playing XI when India land in the West Indies for a limited-overs tour, starting Friday.
Dravid, the India Under-19 and India A coach, wanted more responsibility for young batsman Kedar Jadhav besides including left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav to add some mystery in the bowling department.
"If he (Kedar) wants to establish himself in the side, should he be the No.4? Should he actually not be sort of almost hiding at No.6 and actually be given the opportunity to bat at four and see what he can do," Dravid was quoted as saying by espncricinfo.
"If he steps up, great; if he doesn't, then might have to look somewhere else. Kedar Jadhav is batting too low when you have someone like Hardik Pandya, who has been a find, and someone Indian cricket needs to protect and give a lot more opportunities with the bat.
"He (Pandya) is bowling his overs. He needs to be batting at four, five in certain games, just so that you can develop him, and to have that kind of all-rounder is great for India," the former batting great added.
Commenting on the Indian selectors' decision to send a full-strength side for the Windies tour, comprising five One-day Internationals and a T20 International, Dravid hoped the management will give more opportunities to the fresh legs in the squad.
Young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav are the two new faces in the squad replacing opener Rohit Sharma and pacer Jasprit Bumrah for the Windies tour.
"They have taken a decision to go to the West Indies with a full-strength squad. I really hope they are willing to experiment at least in the playing XI and give more opportunities to people," Dravid said.
"If you don't do that, suddenly you don't want to come to a situation and, say, in a year's time, where you say, 'We haven't given people chances so these are the only guys we have got'.
Dravid said trying a few youngsters and resting seniors like former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh will only strengthen the bench for the men-in-blue.
"Better position to be in: 'We have tried everything else, but we still feel that Yuvi and Dhoni are fit, they are playing very well, and they are the guys to see us through.' And no one will complain about that," he said.
Dravid also empathised with the spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who were clobbered by the Pakistan batsmen during the Champions Trophy final on Sunday, and felt including chinaman Kuldeep will spice up the team's bowling.
While off-spinner Ashwin was milked for 70 runs in his 10 overs, left-arm spinner Jadeja went for 67 in his eight overs during the run fest where Pakistan set a massive 339-run target for Virat Kohli's outfit.
"It is tough on them, and it is not happening. If you want wickets in the middle, wrist spinners and mystery spinners are the ones who look like taking wickets on some of these flat wickets with the fielding restrictions.
"It is nice to have Kuldeep Yadav coming in. He needs to be given a lot more game time. He has got ability, he has got a bit of mystery about him," Dravid added.
The first of the five-match ODI series against the West Indies will be played on Friday at the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain.
With IANS inputs