Kohli-Shastri combine could do well with Dravid inputs
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Kohli-Shastri combine could do well with Dravid inputs

by Sahir Usman Feb 11, 2018 • 21:22 PM

Feb.11 (CRICKETNMORE) - Rahul Dravid is the man Indian cricket is looking at today. Never has a coach of the junior India team received so much attention as he is getting after India won the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand.

A victorious team will have a lot to talk about its success just as a losing team has in trotting out excuses. That's the difference between the Dravid-inspired India juniors and the senior team now in South Africa.

Dravid can give the Indian cricket board and the senior team a lot of inputs to prepare for the tours of England and Australia later this year and his template can do a world of good for the Kohli-Shastri combine as well as the national selectors. 

Dravid's is not the first India team to win the junior World Cup, three other teams, including one captained by Virat Kohli, had done it before. The record fourth triumph at Tauranga was a kind of tie-breaker as Australia had also won the cup thrice before the two teams met in the final. 

The Indian cricket board, through its Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly and Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman, was willing to meet all the demands of Dravid for taking over as the national coach. He was the first choice, not Anil Kumble. 

Dravid rejected the offer. Instead, he chose to mentor India A and Under-19 teams, and that on his own terms. Many were surprised at his decision, but he had a clear idea what exactly he wanted to do, he was looking to do something truly constructive. Also, perhaps, he did not want to coach a team which had players with whom he had shared the India dressing room.

Dravid's hunch was proved correct, looking at the way his friend and teammate Anil Kumble was appointed and "sacked" to bring back his predecessor Ravi Shastri with the captain and a couple of senior players playing a part in the swapping. Only a couple of India captains had not only their say but also their way.

Dravid may not have had the kind of free hand he has as national junior coach if he had been manning the seniors. He insisted on a longish camp before the boys left and landed in New Zealand two weeks before the event started. 

Even the usually tight-fisted board did not have the courage to question him. The whole exercise cost quite a bit and at the end of it all it was money well spent.

Quite in contrast, the senior team did not think or fight for such an elaborate plan before they embarked on their tour to South Africa. They hardly had the time for acclimatisation or could study the pitches before going into the first Test and the result is there for all to see, more so the way they lost the series straight, before fighting back to win the third and last Test, leaving them to rue their poor planning.

Dravid is not looking after only the juniors, he, in fact, keeps an eye on the requirements of the senior side. He quietly puts in a word to chief selector Mannava Sri Kanth Prasad on the juniors ready to join senior ranks, or at least a shot at. 

The chief selector publicly acknowledged the timely advice of Dravid in the selection of the two wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yazuvendra Chahal, and top-order batsman Shreyas Iyer on the strength of their showing for India A.

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