India are prioritising the 2022 T20 World Cup over bilateral T20Is, according to batter Shreyas Iyer, after the Men in Blue lost their second straight series against South Africa on Sunday.
Heinrich Klassen took the game away from India with a 46-ball 81 as South Africa romped home with four wickets to go 2-0 up in the five-match series at Cuttack’s Barabati Stadium.
“Our main aim is obviously the World Cup, so we have to see to it that we plan towards it. So we have that sort of mindset where we are completely free and not thinking about anything else. These are the actual games where we can practise what we were lacking in the past. That’s what we keep discussing in the team meeting as well.”
“No matter what happens, whatever plans we discuss in the team meeting, we have to execute those. Even if we fail, we will learn from that and grow as a player and grow as a team. So that’s more important till we reach Australia,” Shreyas said in the post-match press conference.
“We have made this plan that we will keep going no matter what happens,” Iyer said. “Even if we keep losing wickets, it’s our gameplan and in the future too, we will go in with the same mindset. We will back ourselves and back our instincts.”
Talking about the pitch conditions where Indian batters struggled as they weren’t able to put a score of 150 plus, Shreyas said: “I feel if something we could have done on this wicket is playing until 11 to 15 overs.”
“But at the same time you need to keep the scoreboard ticking also. If I look back, I think 160 could have been a really good score on the board to put them under a little bit of pressure but we were around 12 runs short,” he added.
Dinesh Karthik played his first T20I in three years in Delhi last week, but he didn’t get much playing time. On Sunday, however, Karthik had over six overs to make his mark, and he did not disappoint the sold-out crowd in Cuttack.
With wickets falling, he had to bide his time and was 8 from 14 balls going into the final two overs. He smashed two sixes and two fours in the final two overs to finish on 30* off 21, propelling India to a fighting total of 148/6.
Shedding more light on Karthik’s role, Shreyas said: “It’s definitely something we have strategised earlier as well. We had seven overs left and Axar Patel is someone who can take singles, who can keep rotating the strike. And we didn’t require someone to come in and start hitting from ball one at that point of time. Even DK [Karthik] can do that obviously but DK has been a really good asset for us after 15 overs where he can come and straightaway slog the ball. Even he found it difficult to start well today. Obviously, the wicket played a huge role in today’s game, but we will be using this strategy in the next games as well.”
India and South Africa will now be squaring off for the third T20I on Tuesday at Vishakhapatnam.
(Inputs from IANS)