Rahul Dravid, India's head coach for the upcoming limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka shed light on how this tour will be different from his coaching stints with the India U19 and India A squads. Dravid, alongside the skipper of side, Shikhar Dhawan, spoke to the media in a virtual press-conference before departure to the island nation.
"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", explained Dravid.
"There are 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. giving prime importance to winning the series", Dravid elaborated giving prime importance to a series win for India.
Dravid also said that the management in Sri Lanka will be in contact with the management staying with the Indian Test team in England and chalk out a plan to gain maximum advantage out of these white-ball games in Sri Lanka.
"We have a couple of selectors traveling 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."
He also stated that we might see more instances of two Indian teams in different countries simultaneously in the near future. "I’m not really sure if this is a long term solution. There are a lot of stakeholders, going to involve boards, sponsors, media rights… so much goes into all of this. But in the short term, this will ease the pressure. It’s getting difficult for the same set of players to go through all the restrictions that are there currently. In the long term, it will need a lot more discussion."
Dravid reckons the tour will offer the invaluable experience of international cricket to many youngsters. "Whether they get called up for the T20 WC is for the selectors to take. But certainly a good performance against international oppositions will help. If you can do well at this level, the selectors will certainly take note. No tour is a life and death situation; it’s not like just because you do well against Sri Lanka, you’ll make it, or vice versa. But performing in the pressure of international cricket, the selectors will certainly take note."
At last, the 48-year old spoke about his experience as a coach on this tour. He had rejected the offer of coaching the senior team before but this is a rather young India squad, under a new captain, and Dravid stated that he is excited for the possibilities that lie ahead.
"As a coach, it’s quite an exciting situation because you know if you create a good environment, everyone will learn a lot. We have to be together as a large group, there are opportunities to learn and grow. It’s a good chance for me as well, as a coach you’re always learning from every experience. You learn about yourself and about cricket. It’s another opportunity for me to learn and improve. I’m quite excited", Dravid concluded.