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Dravid to continue as coach despite sustained ICC Trophy drought; Split coaching, a good idea?

Rahul Dravid to continue as India coach despite sustained ICC Trophy drought; Should India try out split coaching?


Rahul Dravid addressing media ahead of Ind vs SA 1st T20I _ Walking Wicket (Images ©BCCI)
BCCI decided to extend Rahul Dravid's tenure (Images ©BCCI)

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has officially declared the extension of Rahul Dravid's tenure as India's head coach. The duration of this extension is yet to be specified, but it is anticipated to span at least until the 2024 T20 World Cup in June.


Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary, affirmed that Dravid would receive the 'full backing' of the cricket board. Shah stated, "Team India is now a formidable unit across formats, and our top ranking in all three formats directly reflects his vision, guidance, and the roadmap he charted for the team."


Acknowledging the extraordinary performance in the World Cup, Shah added, "Having won 10 consecutive games before the final, our World Cup campaign was nothing short of extraordinary, and the head coach deserves appreciation for setting up the right platform for the team to flourish."


“Let the papers come officially from the BCCI” – Rahul Dravid

Regarding the duration of Dravid’s renewed contract, no official announcement has been made, leaving room for speculation. When questioned about the length of his contract, Dravid responded, "It’s not announced officially; I haven’t signed anything yet. Let the papers come officially from the BCCI."


Dravid acknowledged the demands of his role, expressing gratitude for his family's sacrifices and support. He stated, "As we embrace new challenges post the World Cup, we remain committed to the pursuit of excellence."


The coaching staff, including batting coach Vikram Rathour, fielding coach T Dilip, and bowling coach Paras Mhambrey, will also continue their roles with Team India as the BCCI extends their contracts.



India’s ICC Trophy Drought Persists in Dravid’s Tenure

Rahul Dravid assumed the coaching position, replacing Ravi Shastri after a disappointing ICC T20 World Cup campaign in 2021, where India exited early in the Super 12 stage. During Dravid’s two-year coaching period, India ascended to the top of the Test, ODI, and T20I rankings.


However, India's prolonged wait for an ICC Trophy continued under Dravid's tenure. They faced defeat in the 2022 T20 World Cup semifinal against England and finished as runners-up in the 2023 World Test Championship (WTC) and the 2023 ODI World Cup against Australia. Additionally, they suffered an away ODI series loss in Bangladesh in late 2022 and a rare ODI series loss at home against Australia. India was also knocked out of the Asia Cup 2022 in the Super 4 stage.


Given India's busy schedule, VVS Laxman, Chief of the National Cricket Academy (NCA), took over coaching responsibilities in Zimbabwe, Ireland, and some home series.


Rahul Dravid's India Coaching Record

Date

Opposition/Tournament

T20Is

ODIs

Tests

Nov-Dec 2021

New Zealand

India won 3-0

India won 1-0

Dec-Jan 2022

South Africa

India lost 3-0

India lost 2-1

Feb 2022

West Indies

India won 3-0

India 2-0

Feb-Mar 2022

Sri Lanka

India won 3-0

India won 2-0

Jun 2022

South Africa

Tied at 2-2

Jun 2022

Ireland

India won 2-0

Jul 2022

England

India won 2-1

India won 2-1

India lost resheduled 5th Test

Jul-Aug 2022

West Indies

India won 4-1

India won 3-0

Aug-Sep 2022

Asia Cup

Group stage exit

Sep 2022

Australia

India won 2-1

Sep-Oct 2022

South Africa

India won 2-1

India won 2-1

Oct-Nov 2022

T20 World Cup

Lost in semis

Dec 2022

Bangladesh

India lost 2-1

India won 2-0

Jan 2023

Sri Lanka

India won 2-1

India won 2-1

Jan-Feb 2023

New Zealand

India won 2-1

India won 2-1

Feb-Mar 2023

Australia

India lost 2-1

India won 2-1

Jun 2023

Australia

Lost WTC Final

Jul-Aug 2023

West Indies

India lost 3-2

India won 2-1

India won 1-0

Aug-Sep 2023

Asia Cup

India won

Sep 2023

Australia

India won 2-1

Oct 2023

ODI World Cup

Runners-up


Split Coaching Could Be a Solution with Separate Skills and Planning

The concept of split coaching, employing different coaches for the red-ball and white-ball formats (ODIs & T20Is), has not been a regular practice in Indian cricket. It has been sporadically implemented, typically during breaks.


Considering India's hectic schedule, there is merit in having different and refreshing mindsets. Former India player Harbhajan Singh suggested that players who have recently played might be better suited for T20 coaching. There are even rumours of India approaching Ashish Nehra for the T20I coaching role.


"I think for T20 cricket, there’s no harm in having a new captain, new coach because the volume of cricket is such that for one person to play or manage all three formats of the game is never going to be easy," quoted former head coach of India cricket, Ravi Shastri, during a virtual news conference in 2022.


This approach is not unprecedented; the 2022 T20 World Cup champions England follow a similar method, with Brendon McCullum handling Test cricket while Matthew Mott oversees the white ball formats. India could explore separating coaching responsibilities, with both Dravid and Laxman contributing. A different flavour and approach are always encouraging.


Dravid's first assignment will be India’s three-match away T20I series against South Africa, commencing on December 10 at Kingsmead in Durban.



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