After 10 months of experimentation for every position and role in the Indian team for the T20 World Cup, the Asia Cup tournament was likely to give a peek into what the team’s final XI would look like for the big event in Australia later this year. But it continued even at the multi-nation event in the UAE before India, the defending champions and the overwhelming favourites, suffered a shock exit in the Super 4 stage. And former India chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar was left fuming at captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid for the Asia Cup ouster.
India made a dominating start beating Pakistan and Hong Kong in their group-stage ties before being defeated by Babar Azam’s men and Sri Lanka in the Super 4. And despite their emphatic 101-run win against Afghanistan, India failed to ensure themselves a seat in the final.
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While most experts did not read much into the defeats despite it happening in a space of just three days and only two months before the T20 World Cup, India’s decision to continue their experimentation even at a tournament like Asia Cup left many befuddled. And Vengsarkar was among them.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, the legendary batter explained that these experimentations were supposed to have happened in the bilateral series rather than at “big tournaments” like the Asia Cup where one should concentrate on playing the right combination and win matches.
“The team is going ahead with their experiments. They picked Dinesh Karthik, but they haven’t played him, and then they played Ravichandran Ashwin for the first time yesterday (Tuesday) against Sri Lanka. Obviously, the team management wants to give all the players a chance as they are trying to find their best XI for next month’s World Cup. But then this event is also very important. The Asia Cup is a very big tournament. Winning matches in a tournament like this is very important for the morale of the team. Also, I think it’s important to have the winning combination. As I said, the Asia Cup is a very big event. You can experiment maybe in a bilateral series, but the Asia Cups and the World Cup, these are major tournaments. In these tournaments, you need to win, that’s very important,” he said.
India will next play a series of limited-overs matches against Australia and South Africa at home over the next 30 days before they leave for the World Cup.
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