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Dravid-Rohit’s real test will be T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia

Team India already have a huge pool of players but it’s about utilizing the players at the right positions at the right time.

Coach Rahul Dravid, Skipper Rohit Sharma aiming to rebuild team for T20 World Cup 2022
Coach Rahul Dravid, Skipper Rohit Sharma aiming to structure the team for T20 World Cup 2022 (©PTI)

The evening of November 3 provided all Indian fans around the globe double reason to be excited and louder for their side. After two back-to-back humiliating losses in the first week of ICC Men’s T20I World Cup 2021, everyone was so glad to see the openers smashing the Afghanistan bowlers all over Abu Dhabi just when the official appointment of Rahul Dravid as the new head coach of Team India replacing Ravi Shastri after the tournament, broke down to add extra spice in the joy factor.

The whole focus of all cricket fans from different parts of the planet including social media, news channels shifted on the rescue man of Indian Cricket; someone who seems to be oblivious about the word “No”. In his playing days, whether in Adelaide, Multan or Kolkata (even with a back injury), he was right up there to lift his hands up when asked to perform a task for the team. And now, he has done the same job in a new timeframe. It is not something new for him considering that he was the U-19 team’s coach of the world cup winning side in 2018 but definitely it’s not going to be the same approach when he will lead the senior troops.

Dravid’s relationship with captains - Rohit and Virat - matters

There are so many voices being raised about how it’s a new era of Dravid-Rohit or rebuilding the team which isn’t the case at all. To be honest, India already have a huge pool of players but it’s about utilizing the players at the right positions at the right time. The team has achieved some high feats under Shastri-Kohli partnership but they seemed to be clueless during the critical moments which hadn’t helped them in ICC tournaments.

Knowing both the captains and understanding where they differ is going to be the initial challenge “The Wall” may face. Both the leaders wish to take their side to the brightest glory but in seemingly different ways.

In the same universe, where Virat Kohli wants to be under the skin of the opposition with his fearless intensity and mindset, Rohit Sharma somehow, in presenting the same attitude, remains cool and pleasant.

“Knew Rohit is going to be special,” Dravid praised the Mumbai boy and lauded how he has grown as a leader and player over the years.

It goes without saying that the major assignment for this combo is going to be in Australia in the form of the T20 World cup next year. Playing in another big tournament after an early exit from this year’s competition and with India’s yeoman joining the act, the hopes of the fans will be sky high. India is set to get around 12 T20s and an Asia cup as a preparation for T20 World Cup 2022. There are quite a few problems that need to be fixed.

“My role initially will be to sit back and observe and step in when required,” the former captain said during his first press conference.

“We have time for that, there is no rush,” he added.

India have a substantial talent pool but the key is in persisting with players

One of the things to be noted in this Indian side is lack of consistency in providing players enough game time. Because players are coming up with decent performances in IPL and domestic cricket rapidly, selection is going to be something to take care of properly.

Even during the 2019 WC, this job wasn’t done wisely; people may say how can it be so tough for India when they have so many players? But that means, when one fails after two games, other comes in; he fails to make way for another one.

One was totally stunned not to see Ishan Kishan in the first T20I against New Zealand in Jaipur; someone who could be in your World Cup eleven can’t fit in your bilateral series side. Don’t give the excuse of rest! With less than 365 days left for another big tournament in the shortest format, the Dravid-Rohit duo have to be crystal clear about having 15-20 players in mind and stick with them.

During the last home series against England, India looked to be playing fearlessly which they didn’t follow in their do or die game against New Zealand in the T20 World Cup 2021. You may end up losing some games with a new objective but that doesn’t mean you will say goodbye to that plan rapidly.

England, in their new form since their 2015 ODI World Cup debacle, ramped up the much-touted power game and even though they failed at times, they never moved away from that paradigm.

The management could experiment with the team but that should be sensible enough and not micky mouse way of replacing Rohit with Kishan at the opening slot! One may still wonder how did that plan arrive to their mind?

In the three games of the T20I series against New Zealand, India have shown that they have prioritized momentum over experiments in rebuilding. They will again play the shortest format in January. Will the young players get a chance again before the big tournament next year?

On another note, they have to find a way to play Yuzvendra Chahal; leg-spinners are always key in taking big fishes even after going for runs and those big grounds in Australia will help him too. Venkatesh Iyer didn’t bowl in Ranchi and Jaipur even after other Indian bowlers were going for so many runs; that too needs to be addressed. Ravichandran Ashwin’s form and how he has used those variations, speed or his sharp head, is such a huge bonus for the blue brigade.

Although India has won the current T20I series against New Zealand comprehensively even with so many players being rested, it doesn’t reflect how well-prepared this side has been. If they go for a 3-0 whitewash in every series, the young legs of Ruturaj Gaikwad or Kishan or others may not get a chance or mostly get one game in a dead-rubber. With so much media hype and pressure of expectations from fans, one hopes that the Dravid-Rohit duo do not succumb to such pressure if they somehow slip at the last step of the ladder.


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