Rahul Dravid has a challenge as Shastri hands over the ‘greatest team’ to him

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Virat Kohli of India looks on alongside Ravi Shastri, Head Coach of India during a team huddle ahead of the ICC mens Twenty20 World Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan, at Dubai International Stadium in Dubai (ANI Photo)

The biggest challenge in front of new head coach Rahul Dravid is how to build a fearless white-ball squad

Our Bureau
Dubai/Mumbai  

Team India’s outgoing head coach Ravi Shastri has recalled his “fantastic” journey with the side and said he wanted to make a difference which he did during his stint with the Virat Kohli-led side. Barring the below-par show in the ongoing tournament, the Men In Blue have performed exceptionally well under coach Shastri and skipper Kohli. India had defeated Australia by three wickets against all odds to clinch the Test series earlier this year. The Kohli-led side had also defeated England 3-2 in the T20I series in March this year.

“It (journey) has been fantastic. When I took this job, I said in my mind I want to make a difference and I think I have. Sometimes in life, it’s not all about what you accomplish, it’s what you overcome,” Shastri said before the India-Namibia game.

“And what these guys have overcome over the last five years, the way they have travelled across the globe and performed in every part of the globe in all formats of the game will make this – irrespective of what’s happened here – as one of the greatest teams in the history of the game.”

Shastri said that Rahul Dravid has inherited a great team and he can only raise the bar as the man in charge. Dravid will take over from Shastri and the former India skipper’s first assignment would be the home T20I and Test series against New Zealand, beginning November 17. “In Rahul Dravid, they’ve got a guy who has inherited a great team and I think with his experience, he can only raise the bar in time to come. There are still players here who will play for another 3-4 years which is very important. It is not a team in transition and that’ll make the biggest difference,” Shastri said.

Meanwhile, former England skipper Nasser Hussain while decoding the reason behind India’s failure to shine in the ongoing T20 World Cup spoke about the need to play a fearless brand of cricket. And this will be the biggest challenge in front of new head coach Rahul Dravid as he looks to build a fearless white-ball squad.

However, what happened in the past cannot be undone. But with a new coach in Rahul Dravid, and a new T20I captain in Rohit Sharma, it is time for India to adapt to the changing times in the shorter formats of the game. Rohit is known to be a bloke with calm shoulders on his head, and he is known for giving players a long and consistent run.

Rohit and Dravid must ensure the Men in Blue play the T20I format in the manner it is supposed to be played — going hell for leather from ball one. The upcoming New Zealand series should be a chance to experiment with a new strategy where every batter looks to play their natural game rather than waiting for the death overs to go berserk.

Dravid has nurtured players like Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan, Avesh Khan among others and the head coach needs to ensure a smooth transition of these youngsters in at least the T20I squad. The former India skipper needs to realise the importance of having game-changers in the shortest format, and hence the management needs to move over reputations, and look at new blood especially in the T20I format.

Kohli and Rohit will not be around for a long period of time, so grooming one leader apart from these two should also be on Dravid’s mind. Hardik Pandya’s performance was there for everyone to see in the World Cup, so having a fast-bowling all-rounder backup is the need of the hour. Venkatesh Iyer has been selected for the New Zealand series, and he needs to be given a consistent run.

England faced a debacle in the 2015 50-over World Cup, however, after the tournament, the side realised the need for change and one needs to see how the country has gone on to become the biggest powerhouse in white-ball cricket today. One can just hope that India will follow the template and come out all guns blazing in the 2022 T20 World Cup.

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