Former captain and Test great Rahul Dravid, who has taken over as the new coach of India, said his immediate tasks would be to guide the Indian cricket team to “win now but also have one eye to the future”.
Dravid’s statement was a clear reference to India’s disappointing performance in the recently concluded ICC T20 World Cup where the team was eliminated in the group stage itself – losing to arch-rivals Pakistan and also to New Zealand.
Dravid is taking over from Ravi Shastri who helped the team enjoy tremendous success in the Test format in recent years.
Dravid also highlighted his priority will be to take a considerate approach with players that reflects the current challenging times. He enjoyed great success as the India u-19 coach and has been known to play a significant role in the promotion of many youngsters who have recently played for India.
Dravid said, “But I think for me, the player’s sort of physical and mental health is the most important thing. I will always be in conversation with them and I like to work with them to ensure that whenever they’re playing, we have them fresh. We have them, we have them fully switched on and we need to recognize, you know, these are challenging times for people, for players and especially for those guys who are expected to play all the format of the games.”
The former India captain also spoke about the challenge of playing New Zealand in the upcoming series as well as the journey of the new T20 captain Rohit Sharma, who had made his international debut when Dravid was the captain back in 2007.
Dravid said, “I knew, we all knew that Rohit Sharma was going to be special, you know, we could just see that this was a very, very special talent. That I would so many years later be working with him that I never thought about or never envisaged. But yeah just lovely to see, honestly, the way Rohit has grown as a leader, as a person over these last… what is it, 14 years now? And it’s truly been, I think, someone who’s been an absolute credit to the game in the country from what he’s achieved. Like I said, both as a player and of course, you know, his success as a leader for the Mumbai Indians has been phenomenal as well. But just what he’s been and how he’s been able to carry that legacy forward. And obviously comes from obviously having to carry the legacy of obviously Mumbai cricket and Indian cricket is not an easy one, and he’s done it with a lot of grace and class.”
India and New Zealand play three T20 internationals, with the first match to be held in Jaipur on Wednesday. The T20 games will be followed by two Test matches.