Indore, January 8: Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur feels that international cricket teams can learn from India on how to nurture young players and empower them with responsibilities at critical junctures.
Be it in the bowling or batting department, cricketing powerhouse India has built a solid bench strength for all formats under Virat Kohli's leadership. And that has left Arthur impressed.
"It has been interesting watching them introduce young players and giving them responsibility at critical times, that has been so good. And seeing those young players respond has been amazing. I think India in cricket is in really, really good shape at the moment," said the 51-year-old Arthur.
"You look at someone like KL Rahul - he hit some shots that were absolutely amazing. India along with probably Australia now - I think Australia have found their mojo again - are certainly the flagbearers in world cricket," said Arthur.
Before Sri Lanka, Arthur coached South Africa (2005-10), Australia (2010-13) and Pakistan (2016-19). India are not as strong in the T20 format as they in the other two formats but Arthur can barely find any chink in their armoury. "They are a great cricket team and there are no apparent weaknesses."
Arthur has taken over a Sri Lankan team in transition and know that it is very much a work in progress. On Tuesday, most of the Sri Lankan batsmen threw it away after getting starts and that did not go down well the head coach. India chased down the 143-run target in 17.3 overs.
"We did not get enough runs. We lost one of our bowlers (Isuru Udana) unfortunately in the warm-up, but I think we were about 20-25 runs short of putting India under some pressure. We had a couple of our batsmen getting starts, but starts are not good enough. Somebody needs to get a 60-70 or 80 for us, and that is going to be the journey for us."
Arthur admitted that it would take some time for the young batting unit to gain some confidence. "It is quite a young batting unit. For us as coaching staff and players, we have got some serious work to do in terms of gameplan, match awareness and playing the big moments. I think we had 49 dot balls tonight, which is too many, as the best teams in the world (would) have 25 dot balls."
The coach wants his players to rotate the strike more often than trying to hit every ball out of the park. "That is something we need to keep working on. There are too many big shots without the ability to keep rotating the strike. If you cut those 49 (dot balls) by 24 then you have got another 24 to score off, and with strike rotation you put the bowlers off a little bit, you (may) get a bad ball, an extra boundary, and suddenly we are up to 170. And with that you can challenge the likes of a very good Indian team," added Arthur.