Inzamam-ul-Haq, former Pakistan legendary skipper has hailed Team India’s decision to play the second T20I against Sri Lanka despite having only five batters available. Inzamam-ul-Haq termed Team India’s move to contest the clash as a brave one.
COVID-positive Krunal Pandya and eight other Indian players, identified as his close contacts, were ruled out of the Sri Lanka T20Is, having been placed in isolation. There were even reports that the series could be called off in the wake of the development. However, the match eventually went ahead, and Sri Lanka won by four wickets.
Inzamam-ul-Haq: India Was Severely Affected Due To Covid-19 And Had The Option To Pull Out But Decided Instead To Play As They Aren’t Scared Of Defeat
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Inzamam–ul–Haq stated that Team India’s decision to go ahead and play the series was proof of their mental strength.
He said: “Team India were severely affected due to COVID as eight of their players, apart from Krunal Pandya, were unavailable. They had the option to pull out of the game but decided to go ahead and play the second T20I.
“This proves that Team India are not scared of defeat. When you are not afraid of losing, victory will find its way towards you. They trusted the players who are available to play in the squad. Bhuvneshwar Kumar batted as high as No. 6 since Team India had only five batters.”
He added: “The game of cricket is all about approach. Team India’s playing very strong cricket these days because, mentally, they are ready to face tough challenges. They are sending players to England where injury has hit the Team India camp. They lost the 2nd T20I but not without giving a fight. Although they only managed 132 on the board, Sri Lanka won the match with two balls to spare. It was a commendable effort by Team India.”
India named 4 T20I debutants in Nitish Rana, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Chetan Sakariya for the 2nd T20I match. Put into bat, India was restricted to a modest 132 for 5 with skipper Shikhar Dhawan top-scoring with 40. The hosts then chased down the target with four wickets in hand and two balls to spare.
Prithvi Shaw, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Yuzvendra Chahal, K Gowtham, and Deepak Chahar are the eight players identified as close contacts of Krunal Pandya, who tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday. Although all eight have tested negative for the virus, they have still been ruled out of the ongoing T20I series against Sri Lanka.
Inzamam-ul-Haq Credits Rahul Dravid For India’s Mental Strength
The Pakistan legend credited Team India coach Rahul Dravid for instilling a positive attitude and never-say-die spirit in the youngsters.
Inzamam-ul-Haq explained: “I will credit Rahul Dravid for Team India’s mental strength. Correcting techniques of players is one thing but making them mentally strong is another. When teams have such players, it is very difficult for sides to beat them. Winning and losing is part and parcel of the game. But I would say it was a brave decision from Team India to play the match despite lack of options available.”
Speaking ahead of the second T20I, Rahul Dravid himself dismissed suggestions that players are getting Team India caps easily.
He told the host broadcaster: “I truly believe that if you’re selected to play for India – whether it’s 15 players or 20 players – you’re good enough to play in the XI. I don’t really think that the selectors select you in the 15 just to warm the bench or for a holiday.”
With the series tied 1-1, Team India and Sri Lanka will battle it out in the decider in Colombo on Thursday.