India's Rohit Sharma plays a shot
Rohit Sharma, India's white ball captain, feels it's time for the youngsters to train their focus back on playing for India after the high octane IPL auction. Image Credit: Reuters

Kolkata: Indian white ball captain Rohit Sharma said that the upcoming T20 series against the West Indies will be a take-off point to identify the players who can form the core of the squad for the World Cup Down Under later this year.

‘‘We would definitely like to use this series, and the one that follows soon after, to identify the players who can play the World Cup. There are a number of players who are injured, but it can happen as we have such a packed schedule,’’ Rohit said at a virtual media interaction ahead of the first T201 at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday.

Asked what kind of experiments can be in the offing over the week, he said: ‘‘The world experiment is sometimes a little over-rated. We are basically trying to fill up some holes in the team at the moment and we need to give players some game-time to fit into that. For example, we felt that we should give Kuldeep Yadav a game as he had been out for a while and hence he came in for the last ODI.’’


The obvious question about Virat Kohli’s form came up and this time, the ‘Hitman’ got into bit of an attacking mode: ‘‘If you guys can keep quiet for a while, he will be fine. He (Kohli) has been a part of international cricket for more than a decade and he is in a great mental space.’’

The series is set to begin when the dust is just about settling down on a nerve-wracking IPL auction on Saturday-Sunday, with saw some of the youngsters in the Indian team hit paydirt - with his Mumbai Indians teammate Ishan Kishan emerging as the highest paid player in the auction with a price tag of Rs 15.25 crores ($ 2 million).

Asked if there will be any ripples of the auction, Rohit said it’s time they will have to move on from the excitement and emotions of the auction and focus on the job at hand of playing for India. ‘‘Yes, there some strong emotions but it was two days ago. For the next two weeks, they have to focus on playing India and come tomorrow, they have to focus on the game,’’ he said.

Will Kishan be seen in a role as per his possible batting order in IPL? ‘‘There will be no consideration about the IPL pecking order where the franchises may assign them different roles. At the moment, I don’t want to be talking about IPL as they are playing for the country,’’ he said.

Incidentally, Yadav (who came in as a late replacement in place of the injured Washington Sundar) and Yuzvendra Chahal could be seen bowling in tandem at the nets, but there was no guarantee that the Kul-Cha combination could play together. ‘‘The duo had been a great asset in the past and we will try give them some game-time. However, there are too many options at hand and in this format players who can bat do get a preference,’’ he added.