Dravid backs ‘quality’ India youngster despite poor show vs South Africa | Cricket – SportsMediaz

The Twenty20 series between India and South Africa may have ended in a 2-2 stalemate but the five-game series saw many players recording individual success. Indian opener Ishan Kishan topped the batting chart with 206 runs and pacer Bhuvenshwar Kumar was named player of the series for his six wickets. Ruturaj Gaikwad also shone in the third game at Visakhapatnam and hit a match-defining 57 off 25 deliveries.

But Gaikwad looked scratchy in the remaining games, ending the home T20 assignment with just 96 runs in five games. In eight T20s in India colours, the 25-year-old Maharashtra batter has gathered just 135 runs at an average of 16.87. It hasn’t been a hunky-dory ride for Ruturaj in world cricket but Rahul Dravid said he is not “disappointed with anyone”, hinting that more opportunities will be presented to the underperformers.

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Dravid also backed Shreyas Iyer, who looked off-colour after hitting three consecutive fifties in the previous series against Sri Lanka. Shreyas scored 94 runs in five games against the Proteas.

“I don’t like to judge people after one series. Everyone who got the opportunity truly deserved it. In this format, you are going to have some good and bad games. Shreyas (Iyer) showed a lot of intent and played positively for us, Ruturaj (Gaikwad) showed in one particular innings the quality and skill he has got, and in T20s, you can have the odd game where it goes up and down a little bit. So, we are not disappointed with anyone,” said the head coach.

Gaikwad endured a scratchy start in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) as well. But he went on to score 368 runs, including three half-centuries in 14 games for four-time winners Chennai Super Kings.

Dravid also extended support to under-fire Rishabh Pant, who was captaining the national team for the first time. Dravid said Pant is a young and growing leader and will remain an integral part of the Indian side going forward.

“To bring a team back from 0-2 down and to level it at 2-2 and give us a chance to win was good. Captaincy is not about wins and losses only. He (Pant) is a young captain, growing as a leader. It is too early to judge him and you don’t want to do that after one series.

“It was nice to see he has got opportunities to lead, keep, and bat. He had a lot of load on him but gaining from that experience and credit to him for ensuring that we went from 0-2 down to 2-2. I just don’t want to be critical. In the middle overs, you need people to play a slightly attacking brand of cricket, to take the game on a little more. Sometimes it’s very hard to judge based on two or three games,” he said.

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