Robin Uthappa believes the current India Twenty20 squad, despite the absence of top guns, is quite formidable thanks to the presence of experienced Indian Premier League players.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Ravichandran Ashwin are among a clutch of regulars rested for the ongoing Zimbabwe tour which has given an opportunity for the national selectors to test India’s bench strength.
The second-string side has been impressive in the limited-overs series winning all the three one-dayers and taking a lead in the two-match Twenty20 series.
The quality of India’s reserve pool was evident in the first Twenty20 match as despite fielding five debutants – batsmen Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav, all-rounders Stuart Binny and Axar Patel and fast bowler Sandeep Sharma – they coasted to a comfortable victory.
Uthappa, who was the top run-getter with 39 off 35 balls in the 54-run victory on Friday, insists they are not a “second string” team.
He said: “We play so much T20 cricket, some of us must have played 100 games each in IPL, and there the pressure is a lot more.
“There’s more crowd, you want to perform, you’re playing the best players in the world.
“You’re already basically cooked when you’re coming in here, so you’re ready for it,” he said ahead of the second and
final Twenty20 match Sunday.
“We have a pool of 25 players, and all of us deserve to play for the country, it’s just that you cannot carry more than 15 in a side. So unfortunately, the rest of us miss out.
“It’s hard to leave those players out and play us. We need to take our chances when they come our way.
“I would never call us a second string side, because the kind of talent that we have in our pool, I think that we’re pretty good for the next 10 to 15 years,” he added.
— BCCI (@BCCI) July 17, 2015
The 29-year-old wicketkeeper batsman stressed his team is eager to finish the tour with an all-win record by winning the second T20 game at Harare Sunday.
“We know that we’ve got this opportunity and we want to make sure that we finish strongly.
“We’ve played really well in the last four games and I definitely think all of us want to finish strongly. Everyone wants to put their hand up and perform well, and that’s what we’re looking forward to doing in the next game,” he said.
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