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Dravid’s focus on winning series in SL, calls multiple squads “short-term measure” in view of COVID

Rahul Dravid elected Team India head coach on Sri Lanka limited over tour.
Shikhar Dhawan and Rahul Dravid posing during media interaction. (Photo: BCCI)

While the Indian Test squad are currently in the UK, preparing for the upcoming five-match series in the longest format against England, the limited overs Indian side has departed for Sri Lanka to play the ODI and T20I series against Sri Lanka, beginning 13th July, 2021.

Prior to the departure to Colombo, skipper Shikhar Dhawan and coach Rahul Dravid addressed a virtual press conference and shed light on some important discussions revolving around the tour.

India have named a long 20-member squad for the Sri Lanka series, which comprise of a mixture of youth and experience. All of them would be keen to feature in the playing eleven and get at least a game on the tour. However, the head coach, Rahul Dravid categorically stated that the team’s main objective would be to win the series and not to give opportunities to all the players.

Read More: SL tour opportunity for T20 WC aspirants to make mark

Rahul Dravid - While Addressing Media

"There are a lot of people in the squad who are pushing for places ahead of the T20 World Cup coming up, but the key goal is to try and win the series," Dravid said on Sunday, ahead of the team's departure to Colombo for three ODIs and three T20Is.

"That is the primary objective. Hopefully if people can get the opportunity to put in some good performances in the course of us trying to win the series, they will give themselves the best chance of knocking on the doors of the selectors."

Rahul Dravid explained that given there’s only a handful of games to be played in the series, it won’t be possible to ideally give opportunities to all the 20 players. Nevertheless, it will be a learning curve especially for those who will be going for their first Indian tour. The series will mark as an opportunity for them to learn from the senior members of the squad.

"There are a lot of young kids, even if they don't play, it's a great opportunity to be on a trip with the Indian team and interact with seniors like Shikhar, Bhuvneshwar, Hardik," Dravid said.

The upcoming three-match T20 series will perhaps be the last international T20 series before the T20 World Cup. There will be IPL, though, for players to make their case for the T20 World Cup. Head coach, Rahul Dravid is yet to talk to the Indian selectors regarding the playing eleven for the Sri Lanka series.

"These are the only three games before the T20 World Cup and I am sure the selectors and management would have a fair idea by now on the squad they are looking for. There is going to be an IPL as well in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup," Dravid said.

Read More: Dravid set to coach India in limited-overs series against SL

"This gives a few people an opportunity for the one or two places the team management or the selectors may be looking for, and give them a few more options. That would be the goal for the next three T20s. Whether they get selected for the T20 World Cup or not is a call that the selectors will take. But by no means is it a life and death kind of a situation. It doesn’t mean if you don’t have good tour, you won’t make it, ort if you have a great tour, you’ll be an automatic pick. There’s a lot that goes into it.”