On Rahul Dravid’s watch, India will be safe. Much like how Gotham remains safe under The Batman.
Fact or myth, we don’t know.
Too early to say, one notes. Too silly to offer judgment on something that has only just begun (merits greater examination).
In fact, is passing a verdict necessary?
Isn’t cricket about the process? About putting things together to achieve a goal?
In the Bhagvad Gita, which we quote from time to time, either directly or indirectly, the entire way of being has been posited on “Karm.”
On trying. On doing the job. For there remains the real “Dharm.” Anything else is anyways, not in our hands.
Perhaps the following may appeal to those of us not so spiritually inclined:
“Act well the part, that’s where the glory lies,” so said Shakespeare. The focus again is on the job, about getting busy in the process to achieve the aims.
This, at least, seems to be the truth Rahul Dravid will apply in his job as India’s head coach.
And this does seem to be what the man with 13,228 Test runs (and 36 centuries to boot) will do.
To give his all in the process of remodeling, perhaps even reforming a team that has come to him in a desperate bid to steady its course.
Take nothing away from Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli and the fruits their leadership bore.
India were the finalists of the World Test Championship, 2021. Semi finalists in the 2019 men’s world cup, reaching the #1 status as a Test team, the plaudits are endless.
But one suspects, it’s the brickbats, the areas that need marked improvement that Rahul Dravid will promptly undertake as being the real challenges.
Not problems, but again- areas of improvement he must work and work together with the team.
For that’s the Dravid way. Treating successes and failures, the latter importantly, as temporary issues that need fixing. Instead of doing nothing about them and only sitting back worried.
Being a man who cared ever so little about the achievements and feats and always believed in diverting attention to what was the key, one thinks, will be Dravid’s mantra.
And must it be said, he does have his task cut out.
Three, among the many areas need constant, unrelenting attention at this time in the same fashion perhaps with which The Wall guarded India’s fumbling batting order on that tour of disarray in England, circa 2011.
First will be how to handle player fatigue. India’s disastrous T20 World cup campaign that left little to the imagination highlighted this problem zone. Too much of cricket- too less balancing: coach Dravid, what are you going to do?
Test cricket is the next. The influx of talent is handy. Great, factually speaking. There’s Gill. There was his Australia tour. There’s Ashwin back and settled again. Pant is already in ‘zone.’ The breach of the fortress at Gabba was the necessary evidence of a young man’s coming of age, albeit with his ‘on-the-edge’ approach.
But it’s five-day cricket where Dravid will have to focus his attention for two gems of Indian team, two valiant forces have been found wanting and little can anyone else be blamed for Pujara and Rahane’s lackluster run.
Theirs is a dry run that if not addressed urgently will continue to turn up as stale breakfast that has little or no takers on the dining table.
From 16 Tests, including 2020 and this year, all that Pujara’s managed are 780 runs. That’s 29 innings of batting.
Meanwhile, from as many Tests, but 28 innings of batting, all that Rahane’s managed are 679 runs.
With Rahul Dravid around, someone who’s batted alongside both redoubtable talents of India, expect Pujara and Rahane to spend more time than ever in the nets.
Not necessarily only working out the technical flaws in their game, but listening to wise speak as only Dravid can offer.
And what the man who represented India in 164 Tests does offer is patient hearing. At times, that’s such a blessing especially from someone who was regarded for copious amounts of it.
Be rest assured that Dravid will do all he possibly can to examine just what’s gone wrong to two notable bats of India that until a few summers ago were sending alarm signals to bowlers constantly much like the creaking termites that remain perpetually unquiet and are always up to something.
Then comes the next big challenge that Dravid will be geared up to achieve. How to extend India’s bench strength?
For any team competing in the contemporary mold of the sport, which basically means playing round-the-clock cricket, one’s got to make judicious use of the resources.
India, a great stockpile of prodigious cricketing talent must draw immediate attention to handling what is a constant oversupply of talent.
In that regard, Rahul Dravid’s mentorship will have to cater to two aspects of the game.1) Give everyone a fair chance, in accordance with the word from Rohit Sharma and the combined decision of the administration. See to it that the Indian team is built on the principle of inclusiveness, which is also Dravid’s middle name.
Lest it is forgotten, it was Dravid who found someone like Praveen Tambe for Rajasthan Royals, and it were he who paired Samson and Rahane, the former destructive opening duo at Rajasthan Royals.
He’ll now be entrusted with forming the team that will take the ground for the mother of all T20 battles that is again going to take centerfold, come 2022 Australia. The World Cup!2) Whilst doing the above, Dravid will be keen to lay a roadmap of which player will be an all format player and which will be used in the principle of ‘different horses for different courses.’
The availability of multiple options, as stated earlier, will never be the issue. There’s Ashwin. There’s Rahul Chahar. Chahal isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Then, there’s Chakravarthy.
Forget not, Jadeja. But who will compose India’s bench strength and who will play ultimately in the eleven will form part of the many challenges that Dravid will have to address using customary focus and zest to produce gold for India.
Ditto for batting. Ditto for the composition for the all rounders of the team; is Hardik Pandya going to play purely as batsman or will the all rounder in him return to the mix to offer an even more biting prospect to his team?
Challenges, there are many as is often the case when there’s problem of plenty. But workload management and rendering a tone of fluency and simplicity (including respect to the opponent), the latter evident with sights like Krunal Pandya hugging Sri Lankan players (in the white ball series), will form key constituents to the beat the Wall will make India dance to.
One does feel, however, that in the composition of his final melody, there’ll be some beautiful and some rock-solid notes. All, ultimately composed, to earn a standing ovation, not for the self; but for the joy of playing and winning for India!