On the eve of the final Test against Australia, captain Rohit Sharma on Wednesday backed wicket-keeper batter Srikar Bharat, saying that if someone is making a debut in the series, you've got to give him enough innings for him to set himself up for a big score.
Bharat, who has filled in for Rishabh Pant after the latter's accident, has excelled behind the stumps, but has scored merely 57 runs at an average of 14.25 in the series.
While Jharkhand's Ishan Kishan, who is also in the squad, might be considered a closer fit to Pant given his batting abilities, Rohit looked to back Bharat in the near future.
"Speaking about Pant, it's a big miss. We all know what he can do with the bat, and also the keeping, the last couple of years he's kept well for us on turning pitches.
It's a big miss. When we knew he wasn't going to be available for us, that was one of the reasons we got Ishan in because obviously he's a left-hander, can play attacking cricket," Rohit said in the pre-match press conference.
"But speaking about Bharat. He has spent a lot of time in domestic cricket, played a lot of Ranji Trophy, India A' team cricket, Zonals and scored a lot of runs. So it will be slightly unfair to judge him on these pitches," he added.
Rohit said that he'd assured Bharat of his place at the beginning of the series. "If someone's making a debut in the series, you've got to give him enough room or enough innings for him to set himself up for a big score.
That is something that I spoke to Bharat at the start of the series, do not worry about what kind of pitches we play on, or what challenges are ahead, you'll get enough time to prove yourself, because these pitches are not easy, " the Indian skipper said.
"If you're playing on pitches such as these, you've to be ready for guys failing in some innings as well. And you've got to back those guys. And that is what we're doing with KS (Bharat).
He has a lot of runs in domestic cricket, has experience, and he's a good keeper. "I spoke to Ishan as well, when he gets a chance, he'll get a number of games, he won't be dropped after a couple of Tests. And that's what we're doing with Bharat as well."