India’s interim coach for the Sri Lanka tour, Rahul Dravid has opined that coaching the senior Indian team is a different challenge compared to coaching the junior sides. He also added that many players are looking to stake their claim in the side but the team’s primary goal remains to win.
India’s tour of Sri Lanka is one of the most anticipated tours this year because of two reasons. Firstly, it will see a plethora of youngsters trying to stake their claim for a place in the side for the T20 World Cup and secondly, India’s batting great Rahul Dravid will be coaching the senior side for the first time after guiding the junior sides for many years now.
Ahead of the white-ball tour, India’s interim coach Rahul Dravid has asserted that coaching at the international level will be different to coaching the India A or India U-19 sides as it’s different worlds. He added that it will be a good chance for the youngsters to play with senior plays like Shikhar Dhawan.
“It’s slightly different. When you’re at the developmental level, the goal is different from this. we have a really good squad here, 20 players. Will be unrealistic to expect everyone to get an opportunity in this short series. We’ll come up with what we think is the best combination to win the series. And then see along the way, there are plenty of youngsters, even if they don’t play, it’s a great opportunity for them to learn from seniors like Shikhar. It’s very different worlds – Under19 and A team and this,” Dravid stated in an online presser.
There will be a lot of youngsters in the side given most of the first-choice white-ball players are in England at present. Be it in the batting or bowling department, fringe players will be desperate to get their chances to impress at the highest level. Dravid is mindful of that, but he made it clear that the primary goal of the tour will be to win the series.
“There are a lot of people in the squad who are pushing for places or looking to cement their places in the T20 World Cup. But the key goal for everyone in the squad is to try and win the series. That’s the primary objective. Hopefully, people can get the opportunity to put in good performances in the course of winning the series, and knock doors of selectors.”
The former Indian cricketer also made it clear that, by now, the selectors and management will have an idea of what they need from the side and what spots need to be filled given there are only a few games ahead of the T20 World Cup.
“These are only 3 games before the T20 World Cup. The selectors and management will have an idea by now about what they’re looking for. There’s the IPL before the WC. In that sense, there may be one or two places the management/selectors might want to fill. So give them a few more options. But can’t read too much into it as well. There might be a few odd spots to be filled.”
He added that he’s yet to have an elaborate conversation with the team management given they were busy with the WTC Final.
“We have a couple of selectors travelling with us, we’ll interact with them. Had a little bit of a contact with the management in England. Didn’t want to disturb them during the WTC final, so will touch base with them over the next couple of weeks and plan.”
Ever since COVID-19 has struck the world, India A tours have gone down in terms of priority. A while back, India’s A tour of England was even cancelled, owing to the pandemic. Speaking about that, the former Indian Test No.3 said that times are uncertain as the world is going through a tough phase.
“It’s a difficult situation for every country. It’s a big challenge. Priority has been international cricket and IPL, so hopefully next few months we can put in a programme. We had one scheduled for England but unfortunately things got worse, and India is in the red list. It’s hard to put a date in these uncertain times. Only when things improve can these kind of conversations be had with other boards.”