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Pune: Head coach Rahul Dravid has called for patience as the Indian team goes through a rebuilding phase for the next cycle of the T20 World Cup and the youngsters in the side get some experience.
Dravid felt inexperience was one of the main reasons for India's 16-run defeat to Sri Lanka in the second T20I here. The former India captain pointed out that while the visitors had a pretty sorted playing XI, the hosts fielded a completely different side than the one which played the T20 World Cup less than two months back.
"They (youngsters in the team) are very skilful, but as they are learning, it's a tough (job). It's not easy learning in international cricket and you have to learn on the job. So, we've got to have a little bit of patience with these guys," Dravid said at the post-match press conference on Thursday.
Dravid said the team was in the rebuilding phase, given the "next cycle of the T20 (World Cup)" had started. He added that youngsters will be handled patiently and will continue to get support from the team management, hinting that it could be the end of the road for the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.
"For us, it was a slightly different scenario (in the T20I series against Sri Lanka) in the sense that from the last game we played against England in the semifinal of the World Cup, we've probably only 3-4 boys in the playing XI (now).
"So, we are in a slightly different stage of looking at the next cycle of (the) T20 (World Cup). So, a slightly younger team."
With the focus shifting to the 50-over World Cup in India, Dravid feels it is the right time to give as many opportunities to youngsters in T20s as possible.
"The good thing is this year we have the (50-over) World Cup. Because a lot of focus will be on the 50-over World Cup, and the World Test Championship, at least the T20 games that we have, it probably gives us the opportunity to try out a lot of the younger guys."
India are fielding a new-look side comprising youngsters including Shivam Mavi, Umran Malik, Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi.
"Hopefully give them opportunities and just back and support them. I think we've got to be patient with a lot of these young kids. If you look at this team, there are a lot of youngsters playing, especially our bowling attack.
" We all need to be patient with them and we need to be understanding that games like this can happen."
With openers Ishan Kishan and Gill and Tripathi -- playing his debut match -- not firing, Dravid defended them, saying they've only played a couple of games, and asserted that no chopping and changing will take place for the Rajkot game.
"I haven't thought about the third match right now. Once we go there we will have a look at the wicket. But I don't expect there to be too much of experimenting.
"The boys we are already playing (with) are very young. The opening pair of Ishan and Shubman have only played two matches, so we are not going for (any) chopping and changing (of) people too much, unless, of course, there are some injuries," said Dravid.
The coach averred that improvement will only happen if youngsters get enough opportunities against foreign teams.
"Of course, they are improving... we keep trying to help and support them technically with whatever we can in terms of support and also just creating the right environment for them to be able to get the best out of their skills."
They are young kids, will have games like these: Dravid defends Arshdeep
Returning to the side after missing the opener, Arshdeep Singh looked rusty and bowled as many as five no balls in his two overs, giving away 37 runs.
Mavi, on the other hand, bowled two wides and a no ball giving away 53 runs in his four overs.
"Nobody wants to bowl wides in any format, especially in the T20 format of the game. They (extra deliveries and runs) can hurt you.
"They are young kids, they will have games like this. We've got to be patient with a lot of these young kids. If you look at this team, there are a lot of youngsters playing, especially our bowling attack," said Dravid.