The visitors won a thrilling match in Pune on Thursday, January 5, ending Team India’s winning streak against Sri Lanka in home T20Is. While Arshdeep Singh, a young left-arm pacer for India, struggled with the ball, head coach Rahul Dravid stood by his bowlers and urged supporters to have patience with them because they are still in the early stages of their international careers. Sri Lanka trounced India by 16 runs after establishing a massive 207-run mark for the home team. The damage was done by the Sri Lankan hitters in the first innings, despite the hosts’ spectacular revival led by Axar Patel and Suryakumar Yadav after a top-order collapse. Arshdeep Singh and Shivam Mavi in particular, who combined to give up 90 runs in six overs, made the Lankan bats look foolish.
Arshdeep gave one of the worst outings by an Indian bowler on home soil, bowling five no-balls in his two overs after being reinstated after missing the series opener at the Wankhede. Rahul Dravid, the head coach of India, was not overly harsh on the young bowlers, though, as he believes that these kinds of performances are a normal part of the development process. He urged people to be patient with them because they are still very young and perfecting their art.
“Nobody wants to bowl wides (no-balls) in any format. Especially in T20s, they can hurt you. We need to be patient with a lot of these young kids. There are a lot of youngsters playing in this team, especially our bowling attack. They are young kids; they will have games like these at times. We all need to be patient with them and understanding. Of course, they are working hard, and we keep trying to help them, support them technically, and also just create the right environment for them to be able to get the best out of their skills,” Dravid said in the post-match conference.
Since India will host the ODI World Cup later this year, the hosts have moved their attention to the longer format, leaving enough of leeway for rising stars to demonstrate their talents in T20Is. “It’s tough. It’s not easy learning in international cricket and you have to learn on the job. The good thing is, with the focus on the ODI World Cup and the World Test Championship, at least in the T20Is, it gives us an opportunity to try out a lot of the younger guys,” Dravid added.