Mumbai: Captain of a second-string Indian squad to Zimbabwe, Suresh Raina today said the absence of senior players has given the youngsters an opportunity to prove their mettle in the tri-series and two bilateral Twenty20 Internationals against the hosts.
"We have to thank the seniors who have taken a rest and it has given a great opportunity for the youngsters to do well. We have a good bench and all of them have done well in domestic cricket," said the 23-year-old, who is yet to play in a Test match, ahead of the team`s departure.
The Indian team will be without eight senior players, including regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and veteran batsman Sachin Tendulkar, for the May 28-June 9 tri-series, also involving Sri Lanka, and the two T20 Internationals against Zimbabwe on June 12 and 13.
Raina said the young team under him was a balanced one and expressed confidence that they would do well in the tri-series and the Twenty20 Internationals.
"It`s going to be an exciting series. We have a well-balanced team. We have lot of good batsmen who have done well in first class cricket and in IPL. We have a good medium pace attack and good set of all-rounders. We will win the series if we work hard," he said.
Raina said leading the country was an honour and dream come true for him but it has also imposed extra responsibility on his shoulders.
"I have dreamt about leading India. By the grace of God I have got the opportunity. It`s a great challenge and I`m looking forward to it. But it has also thrust great responsibility on me," said the Uttar Pradesh batsman who has been named captain in the absence of Dhoni.