He has been in terrific form in the IPL since 2019 and yet may not find a spot in India’s first-choice T20I XI right now
“It is very important. Of course any international match has its own impact, and whenever you perform internationally it makes a huge impact,” Dhawan said on Saturday, the eve of the first T20I. “So on a personal note, I’m really looking forward to perform over here and make my place more stronger for World Cup contendership. Then we’ll see how it goes in the future.”
“We have to win the series. In the last ODI, there was a good opportunity to give some youngsters a chance and give them a taste of international cricket, because we had already won the series,” Dhawan said. “We’ll of course go in with our best XI first. We’ll try to win the first two matches, and then according to the situation, we can experiment in the last game, if needed.
“If we win two matches, then we have options to play any combination we want to. Otherwise, our main goal is to play the best XI to win the series. That’s our first priority. After that, if we can seal it like we did in the ODIs, we can think of experimenting.”
Dhawan exuded confidence in his young side, who are much more familiar with high-intensity T20 cricket than one-dayers due to the IPL. He also pointed to Sri Lanka’s better showing in the second and third ODIs, and greater familiarity with the Indians on tour as factors that would make the T20Is a good contest.
“Of course they are ready, that’s why they are here,” Dhawan said. “As you saw, youngsters have performed so well in the ODI series, so they’ll be taking that confidence ahead in the T20I series. You will see them perform really well. As a team, we have created an amazing environment over here. Really looking forward to do well as a team. Not just the youngsters, even the senior players are looking forward to it.
“I think the competition will be good. You saw the Sri Lankan team improve a lot in the last two (ODI) matches. They played really well and they are a good team, with a lot of youngsters. We’ve both already played three matches now, so both teams know each others’ strengths and weaknesses. That’s a good thing, and it will add to the challenge.”
Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo