New Delhi: In what can be termed as the first response from the Indian team in Sri Lanka to the 1996 World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga’s ‘second-string side’ comment on the Shikhar Dhawan-led team, batsman Suryakumar Yadav said the players are not really thinking about that and instead are preparing for what he thinks is going to be an interesting series.
Ranatunga had said that BCCI’s decision to send a ‘second-string Indian side’ minus the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit, Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Sri Lanka Cricket agreeing to host them is an ‘insult’ to the Lankan cricket.
“Not really (we don’t talk about that). Everyone is completely focussed. The way the practice sessions are going, the way the game went yesterday, it’s going according to plan and we are really excited for the challenge. We are not thinking about that (this being a second-string side). We are just here to have some fun, enjoy this series and take a lot of positives from here,” Suryakumar Yadav said in a virtual press conference from Colombo on Tuesday when asked about the team management’s reaction to Ranatunga’s comment.
Due to travel restrictions and the quarantine rules in place, BCCI had decided to field two different Indian sides to play in Sri Lanka and England. All the Test regulars are currently in England, preparing for the five-match series against the host while Shikhar Dhawan was named captain and Rahul Dravid the head coach for the limited-overs series in Sri Lanka.
“Two teams playing together… I think that’s the first time (something like this) is happening. I was very excited about when I got to know,” said Suryakumar.
India are slated to play three ODIs starting from July 13 followed by three T20Is against Sri Lanka, which will be their last limited-overs fixtures before the T20 World Cup in October and November.
Asked about the Sri Lankan conditions, Suryakumar, who might start at No.3 in the first ODI, said the fact that the Indian team landed in Sri Lanka well in advance, will make it easier for the players.
“We have played in these conditions before like for example, we play in Mumbai, we play in Chennai, where the humidity is high. Most importantly, we have come here 15-20 days before the tournament, so think it’ll be good. We played a game also yesterday. The wicket was pretty good, I hope it stays that way but if there are slow wickets, we are going to take time, apply ourselves and see. It’ll be a good challenge,” he said.
All six matches will be played at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
“It’ll be the same for both the teams. Once you get to know about the conditions, you can plan accordingly based on the pitch conditions, ground dimensions,” said Suryakumar. (HT)