Made Sure Every Player On India 'A' Tour Got A Game, Says Rahul Dravid
Ever since Rahul Dravid took over the responsibility of NCA, India's talent pool right from the under-19 age group has had a Cambrian explosion.
Before becoming Director of NCA, Dravid used to travel with India 'A' and Under-19 squads on tours and made sure each player got a chance to play.
“I tell them upfront, if you come on an A tour with me, you will not leave here without playing a game. I’ve had that personal experience myself as a kid: going on an A tour and not getting an opportunity to play is terrible,” said Dravid while talking to ESPNcricinfo’s ‘The Cricket Monthly’.
“You’ve done well, you scored 700-800 runs, you go, and you don’t get a chance to show what you’re good at. And then you’re back to square one from the selectors’ point of view because the next season you have to score those 800 runs again."
“It is not easy to do that, so there is no guarantee you’ll get a chance again. So you tell people upfront: this is the best 15 and we are playing them. This is not about the supposed best XI. At U-19, we make five-six changes between games if we can,” he added
Dravid recalled his playing days and said that the Indian team earlier did not have access to knowledge in terms of fitness and world-class coaching.
“Playing on the beach and playing on the road doesn’t make you a cricketer. It makes you someone who loves the game. That’s what we had. We had a lot of people who loved the game,” Dravid said.
“Unless you give that guy a proper matting wicket or a turf wicket unless you give him some half-decent coaching, some half-decent fitness assistance- where was all this in the 1990s and the 2000s? There was no access to it. We were starved of knowledge."
“Even in terms of fitness, we used to look at the Australians and South Africans and we used to look at their fitness trainers, and what did we get? ‘Don’t do too much gym, your body will become stiff. Bowl, bowl, and bowl. Run rounds and laps’,” he recalled.
Dravid will be the head coach of a Shikhar Dhawan-led Indian team that will tour Sri Lanka for a white-ball series in July.