Need to give game time to our reserves, says fielding coach Sridhar

Indo Asian News Service

Hamilton, Jan 30 (IANS) India's fielding coach R. Sridhar on Wednesday said that with only a few games to go before the ICC cricket World Cup, the team management would like to utilise the last two games against New Zealand by including bench players in the playing XI.

The Indian team has already taken an unassailable 3-0 lead and will now be led by stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma as Virat Kohli has been rested for the last two matches.

"See, winning is a habit which we would obviously want to continue. When you're one-up or three-up against a team, you want to continue with the form; you don't want to let down the intensity. At the same time, we also need to give game time to our reserves," Sridhar told reporters ahead of the match.

"There's just seven games remaining for us before we play our first World Cup game. We should not end up in a situation where the main eleven has played and the reserves have not got enough game time, and then suddenly they have to play an important crucial game in the World Cup,

"And that is what we would like to achieve from the remaining two games in this series and no better place than New Zealand to simulate the conditions in England in June," he added.

The men in blue have been in great form recently with both bat and ball but in-form wicketkeeper-batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni's participation is under the scanner as the stumper suffered a 'rare' injury, pulling his hamstring.

"We are playing some good cricket in the last few months, especially with the white ball. I think all the pieces are falling together. If you see the team, it's quite an experienced unit. The top six have all been there right from the 2013 Champions Trophy. So fitness levels have really gone up with trainer Basu Shankar working very hard," he said.

Sridhar also praised all-rounder Hardik Pandya and said: "No one was more keen than Hardik Pandya to play that game.

"He's been working very hard during the time he got back home and the kind of energy he brought into the team, the desperation he brought was magnificent to see. He was just dying to get into the thick of things and be a part of this and get back to what he loves doing, that is to play cricket and play it best he can," he added.

With the visitors already sealing the series, the men in blue will aim to continue their dominance while the hosts will try to salvage some pride.

--IANS

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