India has readymade replacements for the greats: Andy Flower | Cricket News

Former Zimbabwe captain talks to TOI on why India will move on quickly from the retirements of Kohli, Rohit and Jadeja in the shortest format…
NEW DELHI: After their T20 World Cup triumph, India are back in action with a T20I series against a feisty Zimbabwe side. Nearly all the main team players have been rested from the India squad for this trip, while three heavyweights in Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja have retired from the format.
Andy Flower, former Zimbabwe captain and current RCB head coach, spoke to TOI about what to expect from the five-game series.
Excerpts from an exclusive chat…
How do you see the next generation taking Indian cricket forward?
This India-Zimbabwe series is going to be really interesting. It’s a very strong side the Indian selectors have put out. All these guys have not only shown a lot of talent in the IPL but also have the attitude required to play international cricket. There are readymade replacements for the guys who’ve retired, even though they are genuinely great cricketers. The strong domestic structure in India means there will always be readymade replacements. It’s certainly nothing to be scared of. India will keep producing these greats. There is always someone ready to come in. Whenever some of the great cricketers have retired, you think they won’t be and cannot be replaced. But people move on very quickly. All eyes adjust and focus on the next talent that comes along.
Who are the players from the India squad that you’ll keep an eye on in Zimbabwe?
If I put my IPL coaching hat on, then I’ll have to keep a keen watch on the players. (Yashasvi) Jaiswal didn’t play a single match in the T20 World Cup but he is an incredible option. Shubman Gill, by his standards, had a quiet IPL but he looks a very intelligent player. He plays in a similar way to Virat Kohli. I’m looking forward to Abhishek Sharma performing. I really like the look of Dhruv Jurel. Watching him in the Test series against England, he did brilliantly. Riyan Parag has the swagger that you need in international cricket.
What are your expectations from Zimbabwe?
Their biggest player is Sikandar Raza even though he is 38 years old. He has been quite a late bloomer. I want to see how Blessing Muzarabani, a very tall, right-arm fast medium bowler, performs. Muzarabani with his bounce can trouble the Indian batters.
As the head coach of RCB, you’ve seen Virat Kohli from close quarters. Did you have an inkling he was going to retire from T20Is?
I hadn’t thought about it (Kohli’s retirement). I was a little surprised. I really enjoyed working with Virat in the IPL last season. I have utmost respect for him, obviously as a player but also the way he supported Faf du Plessis and myself and Mo Bopat, the director of cricket. He is a brilliant role model. He is an outstanding professional sportsperson. He looks after himself really well. He is disciplined without being robotic. He laughs and has fun, has a cheeky sense of humour and takes the mickey out of people. He always mixes in with team gatherings and he is very approachable. He has a very good cricket brain and can think out of the box too.
According to a survey, the T20 World Cup is gaining in popularity, even among players, and is on course to becoming the most important ICC event…
I’m surprised. I think the 50-over World Cup, because it’s played every four years, holds more importance. I think there’s a danger in playing a T20 World Cup every two years… it becomes commonplace. I wouldn’t like anything called the ‘World Cup’ to be a commonplace. I like the rarity of a World Cup. But I also do feel that T20 World Cups help in growing the game globally. Two of the best stories to come out of the recent World Cup would be Afghanistan and the USA.
We had an IPL where 250-plus scores were achieved with regularity, and then the T20 World Cup where bowlers held sway…
The next IPL may see big scores again. I’m not sure what’ll be done about the ‘Impact Player’ rule. It wasn’t a favourite in the dressing room. The tempo and the power game is going to continue in the IPL. In the World Cup, some of the small scores were mainly due to the pitches on offer. The ICC will need to be careful about the surfaces that are being provided for marquee tournaments like the World Cup. In cricket, there should always be a healthy balance between the bat and ball.
(Watch India tour of Zimbabwe (5-match T20I series, July 7 onwards 4 PM IST) live on Sony Sports Ten 5 channels)


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