Captaincy shuffling keeps coach Rahul Dravid’s work ‘challenging’ | Cricket – SportsMediaz

India’s Test team had taken rapid strides while Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri were at the helm as captain and coach. It was primarily India’s inability to win ICC events and shortcomings in T20 that left cricket administrators feeling that the team needed fresh ideas.

In less than four months from now, the new team management—skipper Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid will head to Australia for their first major challenge—the T20 World Cup.

If the national selectors have a problem of plenty, it is primarily thanks to several new faces and in-form cricketers that the last Indian Premier League (IPL) edition threw up. For in their eight months together, Dravid and Sharma have had little continuity to build on.

“It (coaching) has been quite exciting, it has been good fun. But it’s been challenging as well. We have got six captains in the last eight months, which actually wasn’t the plan when I started,” Dravid told broadcaster Star Sports on in Bengaluru during the final T20 against South Africa on Sunday.

The plan was for Dravid to join forces with Sharma, for long the captain-in-waiting, and the duo to make a tactical pair using data and instinct to offer a star-studded Indian team a fresh approach to T20 cricket.”But it’s the nature of the number of games we are playing, it’s the nature of Covid, so I have had to work with quite a few people,” the former India skipper and batting stalwart said.

The captains Dravid has worked with since taking over are Ajinkya Rahane and Kohli in Tests and Sharma, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant in limited-overs cricket. Shikhar Dhawan led the team to Sri Lanka in mid-2021 with Dravid as coach while Hardik Pandya will lead the side next week in Ireland, where VVS Laxman will be in charge.

Despite this constant leadership churn dictated by circumstances, the coach identified some positives.

“A lot of other guys have got an opportunity to lead. We have got opportunities to create more leaders in the group. We have constantly strived to get better, tried a lot of different people. In the last eight months, touring South Africa was a bit of a disappointment in terms of Test cricket. Our white-ball cricket has been good though. It shows the character of the team,” he said.

Dravid reserved high praise for the talented fast bowling crop available. “It’s incredible to see the fast bowling talent we have, especially with few of the bowlers clocking such speeds. A lot of youngsters got an opportunity to showcase their skills (in IPL) and a lot of them came good. Those are really good signs for Indian cricket, exciting times ahead,” he said.

Some of these fast bowlers—Umran Malik and Arshdeep Singh are in the current squad, but have had to bide their time. That’s in keeping with Dravid’s philosophy of giving the existing lot a reasonably long run. And the players seem to like it.

“Credit to Rahul sir. He gives chances to everybody and intends to give them a long enough run,” pacer Avesh Khan said after the 4th T20I win in Rajkot. “He doesn’t drop a player after one or two bad performances because you cannot judge a player on the basis of one or two games. Everyone is getting enough matches to prove themselves.”

Avesh, who had gone wicketless in the first three matches against South Africa, came good in Rajkot with a four-wicket haul. Arshdeep comes with death overs skills and Malik offers express pace. Both have been bowling regularly in pre-match net sessions and on match days on adjacent wickets in the open field. Both are likely to get a crack in Ireland.

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