Why Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni’s absence in T20 Tri-series is blessing in disguise | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Why Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni’s absence in T20 Tri-series is blessing in disguise

Rohit Sharma, the Indian cricket team skipper for the Nidahas Trophy 2018, has said the absence of the big guns like Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni gives the side a chance to enhance the bench strength for the future.

cricket Updated: Mar 05, 2018 21:52 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
India's captain Rohit Sharma (R) warms up during a training session ahead of the tri-nation Twenty20 cricket series in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Monday, March 5, 2018. The Twenty20 tri-series that features Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka begins on March 6.
India's captain Rohit Sharma (R) warms up during a training session ahead of the tri-nation Twenty20 cricket series in Colombo, Sri Lanka on Monday, March 5, 2018. The Twenty20 tri-series that features Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka begins on March 6. (AP)

The Indian cricket team for the Nidahas Trophy 2018 featuring Sri Lanka and Bangladesh is missing big names like Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya. However, skipper Rohit Sharma has said he is viewing the absence of the big guns as a chance to enhance the bench strength of the side.

Speaking at the unveiling of the Nidahas Trophy 2018, Rohit said, “It is always important to know your bench strength. Players have been consistently performing on ‘A’ tours, Ranji Trophy, domestic tournaments, age-group games. It is the right time to blood them in. We want to see how they play here and not rush them directly in the ICC tournaments.”

Earlier in the practice session, Sri Lanka coach Chandika Hathurusinghe had said India is the favorites due to their consistent performances but Rohit was cautious in the assessment.

“T20s are such a format where the game can change in a span of one over. It is like the English Premier League, where any team can achieve victory on a given day,” Rohit said.

This is the second time India is playing the Nidahas Trophy. In 1998, India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand played a 50-over tri-series which marked the 50th year of Sri Lanka’s independence. India won the title by six runs and the matchwitnessed Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly sharing a then world record opening stand of 252. Rohit recounted the fond memories.

“I was only 10 years old when this tournament took place. It gives me immense happiness to lead the team during Sri Lanka’s 70th Independence Day,” Rohit beamed.

Can’t say transition

Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal stated the team was in high spirits heading into the tournament following their victory over Bangladesh. However, he stressed that a lot of hard work needed to be done.

“Every time you can’t say that this is our transition period, so we are looking at the 2019 World Cup, we are thinking about that, we are doing all the hard work as a unit too,” Chandimal said.

Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah was presented with a tricky question when asked about former coach Chandika Hathurusinghe who is now part of the Sri Lankan set-up. Mahmudullah responded, “I have great respect for Chandika Hathurusingha. It depends on how the players take it. Life moves on.”

The first match of the 2018 Nidahas Trophy features India taking on Sri Lanka on Tuesday followed by a clash against Bangladesh on Thursday.