After suffering a crushing 3-0 loss against South Africa, head coach Rahul Dravid on Sunday said that this series is a "good eye-opener" for the team but there is still a lot of time before the 2023 ODI World Cup and India will get better in the near future.
Fighting fifties by Virat Kohli (65), Shikhar Dhawan (61), and Deepak Chahar (54) went in vain as South Africa completed a hat-trick of wins with a four-run victory in the thrilling third and final ODI to seal a 3-0 series whitewash against India in Cape Town on Sunday.
"I think this ODI series has been a good eye-opener for us. We have not played a lot of ODIs, this has been my first stint with the ODI side. Even the team itself has not played many ODIs after the 2019 World Cup. Luckily, we have got time to go before the 2023 World Cup. There is going to be a lot of cricket from now until then in white-ball format till 2023," Dravid said in the post-match press conference.
"It is going to be a good opportunity for us to really reflect and learn and keep getting better. We will get better, there is no doubt about that," he added. Impressed by Deepak Chahar's batting ability, Dravid said that the all-rounder has shown his quality in the limited opportunities he has gotten and the team would like to give him a more consistent run in the playing XI.
"I mean Deepak Chahar has shown in the opportunities he has gotten with us in Sri Lanka and over here well, he has got some really good ability with the bat. We know what he can do with the ball as well. I have seen him at India A as well and I know he can bat really well so certainly gives us a lot more options," he said.
"It is nice to have people like him and Shardul Thakur as well, who we have seen in the last couple of games, contribute with the bat as well. So, obviously, the more and more players like this who can contribute lower down certainly makes a big difference and gives us more options. So, certainly, we would like to give Deepak more games along with Shardul and a lot of other people who can step up in the course of next year or so and give us depth in the side," he added.
The head coach also admitted that the side missed the likes of Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel, who give much-needed all-round options to the side. "If you are honest, some of the guys who really help us balance the side and give all-round options at 6, 7, and 8 are not here available for selection. When they come back, they will probably give us a little more depth which allows us to play in a certain different style," said Dravid.