Newly appointed Team India head coach Rahul Dravid stressed the need to manage the workload of players in these current circumstances, which have been riddled with bio-bubble fatigue and mental health issues.
Dravid understands that each and every player will not be available for all the assignments, but views it as an opportunity for the younger players to break into the squad. The former India captain admitted that he is not keen on implementing the policy of selecting three entirely different squads for each format.
Speaking at a virtual media press conference ahead of the first T20I in Jaipur, Dravid said:
“We’re not at that level or point of discussion of separate teams. I don’t think we are going to do that. Of course, there are certain individuals who only play a particular format of the game and that happens. I mean we see that happens to players who play all formats of the game. Obviously, in times like this, we need to be in conversation with the players, we need to respect. I think for me, the player’s physical and mental health is the most important thing. I’ll always be in conversation with them and I would like to work with them to ensure that whenever they are playing, they are fresh, we have them fully switched on and we need to recognise it,”
“These are challenging times for players, specially for those guys who are expected to play all the formats of the game. So, we need to work with them, it may take a little bit of time, maybe there will be an odd series where we might not be able to play every single player who plays all the formats of the game. But I think we should just accept that as reality. There lies an opportunity for other players to show us what they have. When we get all our good players on the park and fully fit and ready to go, we will be a formidable team in any of the format,”
Dravid also elaborated on the differences between coaching at youth level and now moving onto the senior team. He spent several years coaching the Under-19 and India ‘A’ sides, with the 2018 U-19 World Cup being his biggest accomplishment. He replied:
“Wherever you are coaching, you cannot keep coaching in the same manner. You have to keep somethings in mind, the principles of coaching never change, they are always the same. But the team you are coaching comes with a unique set of challenges and requirements of its own. You cannot say that everything I did at the Under -19 level, I will do here as well. That would not be the way I would go about it. Anytime you coach, your responsibility as a support staff is to able to get the best out of the players. That’s my philosophy,”
Having coached India on the tour of Sri Lanka with a second-string squad a few months ago, Dravid will take charge of the Indian team for the first time on a permanent basis tomorrow when the team step out to face New Zealand.
“You cannot not think about the bigger picture” – Rahul Dravid
Speaking about the vision he has in mind for the team in the coming years, especially with a string of ICC tournaments lined up, Dravid claimed that it is important to hold the present and future prospects with equal importance. He said:
“You have to strike that balance, of course you want to win every single game for India but you cannot not think about the longer term picture. I mean, even in terms of the bubble fatigue or the situation we are in now, we will think about the player’s long term careers and futures as well and keep that in mind. So it’s a combination of both, you have to win now and you also have to keep one eye to the future, you have to plan for the tournaments in the coming years also.” Dravid concluded
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Team India will begin their journey to the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia with a three-match T20I series against recent runner-up New Zealand. The first T20I will take place at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on November 17.