New Delhi: Appointed coach of the national team for the tour of Zimbabwe, Sanjay Bangar says the upcoming limited overs fixtures against the minnows will be a good opportunity for India's young cricketers to prove their mettle in international cricket.
Former India and Railways all-rounder Bangar was last month named India coach for the tour that will have three ODIs and three T20 Internationals starting 11 June.
The selectors named a largely inexperienced squad for the tour, which will be led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
"I am very excited and I would like to thank the BCCI for this huge honour. This is a very important tour for the young players. It provides them an ideal opportunity to test themselves in international waters. It is the start of a new season and it gives them an opportunity to make a mark and keep knocking at the doors of the Indian team," Bangar was quoted as saying by bcci.tv.
During their last two tours to Zimbabwe in 2013 and 2015, India whitewashed the hosts in ODIs. With a squad that has many young players, Bangar's task will be cut out.
"Among the few things that are important when we land in Zimbabwe is being aware of the individual strengths, the position that they play in, what we expect from them and then fit them in the scheme of things as far as the team composition is concerned," Bangar said.
"We have a fair idea of what they are capable of and how we can optimise their strengths into the composition of the team. Not many of them would have played in Zimbabwe and getting used to the conditions in such a short period would be a major challenge.
"The conditions too are a bit challenging as compared to the other parts of the world. We don't really have a lot of time there and we play our (first) match straightaway. Passing on the information and experiences that we have had from the previous tour would be vital. We have to make sure that the players are very well prepared and equipped to counter the challenges."
Asked about the pitch conditions in Zimbabwe, Bangar said, "It is not really a high scoring venue (All the matches will be played at Harare Sports Club). At the moment, it is sort of winter there and this year we are going to be playing with Kookaburra balls. We played with Duke balls last year. The Duke ball tends to do a bit more than the Kookaburra ball.
"We will have to go there and find out what is the behaviour of a Kookaburra ball vis-à-vis a Duke ball. Zimbabwe is also at a higher altitude. So fielding wise, the ball tends to travel slightly quicker. Those are the small adjustments you need to make to make sure that you are on top of the game."