Former India captain Rahul Dravid, who has been credited with creating a pool of talented young players during his stint as the India A and India Under-19 coach says he ensures that all players picked in his squad got a chance to play, which was not the case in his playing days. The National Cricket Academy (NCA) director will tour with the Indian senior team to Sri Lanka as their head coach as the Virat Kohli-led side will be in England preparing for the five-match Test series against England.
"I tell them upfront, if you come on an A tour with me, you will not leave here without playing a game. I've had that personal experience myself as a kid: going on an A tour and not getting an opportunity to play is terrible," Dravid told ESPNCricinfo's The Cricket Monthly.
"You've done well, you scored 700-800 runs, you go, and you don't get a chance to show what you're good at. And then you're back to square one from the selectors' point of view because the next season you have to score those 800 runs again,'
"It is not easy to do that, so there is no guarantee you'll get a chance again. So you tell people up front: this is the best 15 and we are playing them. This is not about the supposed best XI. At U-19, we make five-six changes between games if we can," he added.
Dravid also said that there was a lack of awareness about fitness during his playing days and also envied teams like Australia and South Africa, who were among the fittest at that time.
"Playing on the beach and playing on the road doesn't make you a cricketer. It makes you someone who loves the game. That's what we had. We had a lot of people who loved the game," Dravid said.
"Unless you give that guy a proper matting wicket or a turf wicket unless you give him some half-decent coaching, some half-decent fitness assistance where was all this in the 1990s and the 2000s? There was no access to it. We were starved of knowledge."
"Even in terms of fitness, we used to look at the Australians and South Africans and we used to look at their fitness trainers, and what did we get? 'Don't do too much gym, your body will become stiff. Bowl, bowl and bowl. Run rounds and laps'," he recalled.
India on Thursday (June 10) announced the squad for three ODIs and as many T20Is they will play in Sri Lanka. Shikhar Dhawan will lead the side in the absence of Kohli, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be his deputy in a new-look side.