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Rahul Dravid content with life without a sixth bowling option

Last updated on 04 Nov 2023 | 01:51 PM
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Rahul Dravid content with life without a sixth bowling option

South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma underlined India's lack of a sixth bowler, but Rahul Dravid is confident that India will ace it through

When India lost Hardik Pandya to an injury, they had the option of picking an extra bowler while thinning the batting resources, but instead, they went with the riskier option of playing with five bowlers. It has reaped excellent results, with Mohammed Shami picking 14 wickets in three games. Now, even as a replacement, they decided to go with Prasidh Krishna, who was a part of the Indian squad till the recent series against Australia.

However, the question persists - what if one of the bowlers goes down during the match? In that situation, we are looking at one of Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma rolling their arm over - a potentially scary thought for a side that is dominating the ongoing World Cup with an iron fist. Earlier on the day, South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma underlined the same, but Rahul Dravid is confident that India will ace through.

“He just said the facts. The fact is that we will not be in a position to have a proper sixth option. We do have the option to call upon our wrong-footed, in-swinging menace [Virat Kohli]. And with the crowd behind him, I'd back him for a couple of overs in a few wickets. The crowd was demanding his bowling in the last game. We came very close to giving him an over,” Rahul Dravid said jokingly.

“And then we've got Surya, who can turn his arm over a little bit. And then Rohit's bowled a bit as well. So, look, yeah, you're right. I mean, obviously, the sixth option is something that Hardik gave us. But you're right as well that we have been playing the last four games without the sixth bowling option. We also played a couple of games in the Australia series before the World Cup without the sixth option. We won two of our games, both in Mohali and in Indore, when we played only with five bowling options in those games as well.

“We have responded really well to that challenge. Yes, of course, we probably won't have that sixth bowling option in these games. But the response of the team and the players has been really good when we have not had it. So, I think we have played enough games without having it. And we seem to have done pretty well,” Dravid added.

When he was quizzed about the dew factor, the Indian coach replied in a hilarious manner about how he had given up on it and how no one could really predict the impact of dew now.

“Yeah, no, firstly, I've given up on dew. Honestly, I don't read Dew, man. I've just given up on it. I can never predict it. Neither can groundsmen, man. Half the time, they're telling me something, and then it's not,” the 50-year-old added.

“So, but I think this tournament, I think the beauty of this tournament is that it has shown that if you bat first and you put good scores on the board, dew hasn’t been as much of a factor. The results haven't been as skewed as maybe even a lot of people thought leading into this tournament. 

“So, I think that's a good thing. So, I don't think there needs to be too much into it. Yes, you need to be able to respond. I mean, obviously, when you are faced with that situation, then you need to be able to respond and see how to react to it and deal with it. But luckily, it's not been so much of a factor. So again, here, like I said, I'm not really worried about it. It might come, it might not come. We just play according to what we think gives us the best chance to win in this game,” Dravid added.

With 442 runs from seven matches at an average of 88.40, Virat Kohli has been at his absolute best in the ongoing World Cup. Only twice has he failed to post a 50-plus total, and while he has gone on to post a century only once, he has another three scores of 85-plus. 

All of that indicates the mentality of a relaxed cricketer who is enjoying the success that comes along. Dravid applauded that quality while sending huge praises for the former Indian skipper. “Virat's been really relaxed, and as you can see in his performances, you know, batting really well for us, really keen to do well as he always is. So, look, I haven't noticed anything different. He's always been the same. He's always been professional, always been hardworking, always been switched on. 

“So, nothing different. And no, I don't really think he's thinking too much about 49 and 50, and probably certainly not about his birthday getting a year older. But no, I think he's been really focused on winning the tournament and playing some good cricket for us. I think he's doing that really well,” Dravid, Kohli’s former teammate at the Indian team and RCB, said.

This has been a spectacular year for Shubman Gill in international cricket, but unfortunately for him, he caught dengue fever at the start of the tournament, which ruled him out of the first couple of games. He took some time to hit the ground running, and it finally came off against Sri Lanka as he managed 92. Dravid underlined the impact of dengue even in the recovery stage and how Gill overcame the entire process to come out good. 

“I think it's important that we are in good form. We're playing really good cricket. And Shubman's obviously coming back. I think for him, he was in such good form and playing so well. It was just a little unfortunate for him that he picked up dengue at the start of the tournament. And it's taken him a little bit of time to get over that. I think we underestimate. 

“You underestimate the kind of effect something like that can have on you, and then having to come out and play in the heat and travel. And it's been quite a hectic tournament as well. Sometimes you underestimate how much of an impact that can have on your body. It is really nice for him to be able to grind out some really good runs for us in Bombay,” Dravid, who has followed Shubman Gill’s career since the latter’s U19 days, added.

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