Bulawayo: India skipper Virat Kohli feels it was "unfortunate" that Parveez Rasool could not get a game during the just-concluded ODI series against Zimbabwe but insisted that the Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder just did not fit into the team's bowling plans during the tour.
"I'm not really bothered about what's being said about people getting chances, because a lot of people who have played these five games have been sitting on the bench for two months or so," Kohli said when queried about not including Rasool, who could have become the first J&K cricketer to play for the Indian team.
India swept the series 5-0 and in the final ODI, it was expected that Rasool would be given a chance as the side had an invincible lead in hand but Kohli said the 24-year-old would get his break later.
"Parveez realises we had a set bowling combination and we didn't want to make any changes to that. It was unfortunate he didn't get a game, but it just didn't go according to our plans. Maybe in future when he plays more series he'll get a few games to test his skills out," he said.
Asked if Rasool could have been given a chance in place of another all-rounder, Ravindra Jadeja, Kohli said, "It's very hard to leave someone like Jadeja out because he's the kind of bowler who can get you wickets at any point in time."
"We didn't want to take any game lightly and I didn't want to change too much in the bowling department. Mishra has been sitting out for a while so we wanted to give him four or five games."
"Parveez is going to South Africa now for the India A tour and he's going to play a lot of games there and pick up more experience. He could have been given a chance but I just didn't want to take a chance with the bowling line-up, leaving someone like Jadeja out," he added.
Reflecting on the triumph, Kohli said it was heartening to see debutants coming up with solid performances.
"The guys who got a chance for the first time showed a lot of character, especially someone like Mohit Sharma and (Jaydev) Unadkat," Kohli said.
"Ajinkya Rahane coming back into the team, scoring some runs. So it was pretty good to see all the guys performing and playing their roles. Amit Mishra sat out for two months on the road regularly and then came out with 18 wickets in this series, so there were a lot of great performances by individuals and some good team efforts as well," he added.
Kohli praised the team's bowlers for adapting well to the conditions. "The thing is that we analysed and considered the fact that our bowling line-up is pretty new so we wanted to give them more confidence rather than the batting, because the batting has been doing well for about three months," Kohli said.
"There's no point in going out there and trying to prove something to ourselves because all these individuals have performed at international level. It's about giving people the right kind of confidence in games, and the new-ball bowlers got a lot of confidence from bowling in the first innings and that was the plan," he added.
"The batsmen have all scored runs in this series, so it was all about making sure the bowlers go back as more confident individuals," he said.