Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie acknowledged India’s bench strength and stated they have to be at the top of the game to force a result in the two-match T20 series that starts on Sunday. Led by Hardik Pandya, India are scheduled to play Ireland on June 26 and 28 in Dublin. (More Cricket News)
With several top stars like regular captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja among others being a part of the England tour, India will be fielding their A side for the two T20s against Ireland.
Former India batter and current NCA chief VVS Laxman will coach the Indian team against Ireland in place of head coach Rahul Dravid who is with the Indian side for their tour of England. India will play England in the fifth Test before engaging in a six-match white-ball series battle.
“Nowadays, any Indian team you play is going to be a good team. It kind of shows the depth of Indian cricket that they can put out two teams,” Balbirnie said in the press conference on Friday ahead of the first game.
“We couldn't do that – there’s no way we could put out a Test team and a T20 team at the same time, we just don't have the numbers for that,” he added. According to Balbirnie, the Indian Premier League is providing a pathway for young Indian players into international cricket.
“With the IPL being so successful over a number of years, a lot of young guys are coming in and putting their names forward to get into that first eleven for India. And with the World Cup in October, there'll be a lot of guys looking for those places,” he added.
“So, we know it's going to be a good Indian team and we have to be at our best to try to force a result,” said Balbirnie, who played 67 T20s for Ireland so far. With the Indian Premier League providing worldwide coverage, it also provides the opposition sides to analyse the Indian players minutely.
Balbirnie said the IPL has provided them to do the required homework on the Indian players for the T20 series. “The good thing about the IPL is that you get to see all these players pretty much every day, there's a game every day when the IPL is on.
“So, we have a lot of footage of these guys - bowlers and batters. There's plenty of homework being done, Scott Irvine, our performance analyst, has done a lot of work. So, we have the tools there. Certainly, the homework will be done before we go out there on Sunday,” added Balbirnie.
India have played Ireland only thrice in T20s winning on all the occasions. The first time both sides met was during the 2010 T20 World Cup with the next matches coming in 2018 in a two-match series.