• Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Sports

As India’s coach, Rahul Dravid bats for a long-term goal

India lost the inaugural WTC final to New Zealand in 2021 and have been guilty of faltering in knockout games in limited overs tournaments in recent years

Rahul Dravid

By: Eastern Eye

India may not have won an ICC title for 10 years, but head coach Rahul Dravid insists his team is not feeling any pressure in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia, set to begin on Wednesday (7).

India lost the inaugural WTC final to New Zealand in 2021 and have been guilty of faltering in knockout games in limited overs tournaments in recent years.

“No, not at all. I mean we don’t feel any pressure in terms of trying to win an ICC trophy. Of course it would be nice to do it. It would be certainly nice to be able to win an ICC tournament. But also in the context of things, you look at this and you see this is the culmination of two years of work,” said Dravid.

“It’s a culmination of a lot of success that gets you here. There’s a lot of positives to take from that to see where you stand on the table. Winning series in Australia, drawing series here (England), being very competitive everywhere that this team has played in the world over the last five or six years.

“I think those are things that will never change just because you have or you don’t have an ICC trophy. That’s really the bigger picture,” he added.

The Oval is scheduled to host its firstever Test in June and the conditions might not be as batting friendly as they are later in the English summer. However, Dravid is not reading too much into it.

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India and Australia, currently captained by Rohit Sharma (left) and Pat Cummins, respectively, have competed for series honours including the Border-Gavaskar trophy

“We have to react to what we see in terms of the conditions and how it plays out in the middle. And hopefully we have the resources and the ability to deal with whatever is in front of us,” he said. Skipper Rohit Sharma stated he wanted to win some trophies for his country before he leaves the game.

“Whether it’s me or someone else, even the guys before, their role was to take Indian cricket forward and win as many games, as many championships as possible. For me also, it is the same. I want to win games, I want to win championships. That is what you play for,” Sharma said.

“It will be nice to win some titles, win some extraordinary series, but having said that, I genuinely feel we don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves by overthinking this kind of stuff. “Like I said, every captain wants to win championships. It will be nice if I can win one or two championships, as in when I decide to move on from this job.”

Meanwhile, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar believes current vice-captain Cheteshwar Pujara can provide valuable insights to his teammates, having played extensively in the English County Championship with Sussex.

“The fact that he has been around will mean he will have also seen how the pitch has been behaving at the Oval. He might not have played at the Oval, and he might be in Sussex not too far away from London but he will have kept an eye on what is happening,” Gavaskar told Star Sports. “His in put will be invaluable as far as the batting unit or even the captaincy is concerned.” He added that the Indian batters, who were coming off the IPL, will have to adjust their bat speed ahead of the WTC final, and advised them to play as late as possible. “Coming from T20 where the bat speed is very fast to Test cricket where the bat speeds got to be a lot more control, that is something they’ll need to do,” he said.

Both Gavaskar and Dravid hope the match can stimulate conversations around Test cricket at a time when franchise tournaments around the world have jeopardised the future of the five-day game with only few nations committed to Test cricket.

“Anytime you play for your country, play against someone else, there’s always context, you always want to win those series. But you know, I really hope that it will encourage a lot more teams to … find a way to play a lot more Test cricket,” said Dravid.

“I know it is complicated and … there are a variety of reasons why that is probably not happening, both in terms of time, finances, there are many things that go into it. But certainly, we’d like to see a lot more Test cricket – personally at least, I’d like to see a lot more Test cricket being played,” he added.

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