Rahul Dravid, the head of National Cricket Academy and the former skipper of India, will travel to Sri Lanka along with the Indian side for the upcoming limited-overs series against Sri Lanka, a BCCI source confirmed to news agency PTI on Thursday.
The cricket board is yet to make an official announcement in this regard but Dravid will in all likelihood take on the role of the head coach in the absence of Ravi Shastri, who would be in England during the same timeframe with India’s senior team. "He will travel with the team to Sri Lanka in all likelihood," a BCCI source told PTI.
The recent development has come as a major boost for the touring side as most of the players in that side have trained under him at some point over the last few years.
Before taking up the role as director at the National Cricket Academy in July 2019, Rahul Dravid served as the head coach of the India-A and under-19 team for several years. It is not a hidden fact that his role in nurturing young cricketers has been exemplary.
The likes of Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar, and Shubman Gill, who will travel to the UK with the senior team, have all been trained under the guidance of Rahul Dravid during their under-19 days. Many players from the side touring Sri Lanka such as Prithvi Shaw, Navdeep Saini, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson among others also rose through the ranks under Dravid’s guidance.
Victories and losses are part of the sport and the good thing about Dravid is that he has rarely pressurized the players under his watch, whether when he was captain or coach, to just go for the end without considering the means. The constant focus on the processes and improvement in technique to benefit the individual, as well as the team, is what Dravid has always believed in. The results have shown in the blossoming of the above-mentioned players who are confident in their abilities.
Dravid was regarded as ‘The Wall’ of Indian Cricket because of his mental fortitude to withstand tough conditions. Over the last few years, he has trained numerous young players to become mentally tough and adapt to the situations. It is also worth remembering here that the victory of the Indian Colts in the Under-19 World Cup in Australia was under the astute guidance of Dravid.
The Indian Cricket Team, today, is regarded as a force to reckoned with in world cricket. Dravid, undeniably, has played a major role in giving India an enviable bench strength. They now have players for every condition and format. Former India quick, Paras Mhambrey will join Rahul Dravid as a part of the support staff. He is likely to take up the role of the bowling coach.
As per the reports, the Indian team will play three ODIs and three T20 internationals against Sri Lanka between July 13 and 27. The three ODIs will be played on July 13, 16 and 19, while the T20 internationals will be played on July 22, 24 and 27. The venue has not been finalized as yet but R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo or the grounds at Hambantota or Dambulla may be the places where the matches will be held. With the impending COVID-19 situation crowds may not be allowed at the venue.
The Men in Blue will reach Sri Lanka on July 5. They will undergo a week-long quarantine, including a three-day hard quarantine in hotel rooms. For the next four days, their travel will be restricted between the hotel and the ground for training purpose.
In the absence of most of the senior players, Shikhar Dhawan is likely to lead the Indian team. A few other senior members like Hardik Pandya, Shreyas Iyer (subject to fitness) and Sanju Samson among others are likely to be part of the group. Besides, the series will be a huge opportunity for players including Prithvi Shaw, Navdeep Saini, Krunal Pandya and the likes to get back into the reckoning, with the T20 World Cup scheduled to be held later this year.
The Board of Cricket for Control in India hasn’t yet announced the final squad. Here’s a look at our probable squad for the white-ball series against Sri Lanka.
Shikhar Dhawan (c), Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya (vc), Krunal Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Navdeep Saini, T Natarajan, Rahul Chahar, Varun Chakravarthy, Sanju Samson, Manish Pandey, Prasidh Krishna, Kuldeep Yadav