Widely credited for creating India’s talent pool at the under-19 and A level, former captain and NCA Director Rahul Dravid says all through his stint as coach with these teams, he made certain that each and every cricketer who toured got a game unlike his playing days. Dravid will be head coach of a Shikhar Dhawan-led Indian team that will tour Sri Lanka for a white-ball series next month. He doesn’t shuttle with the A and U-19 squads any longer but it was once he who made certain all of the squad members played on tours.
“I tell them upfront, whether you come on an A tour with me, you are going to not leave here without playing a game. I’ve had that personal experience myself as a juvenile: going on an A tour and not getting an possibility to play is awful,” Dravid ESPNcricinfo’s “The Cricket Monthly”.
“You’ve done mannered, you scored 700-800 runs, you go, and you aren’t getting 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 need to score those 800 runs again.
“It’s not easy to do this, so there is not any warranty you can get a chance again. So you tell people upfront: this is the most efficient 15 and we are playing them. This isn’t approximately the supposed best XI. At U-19, we make five-six changes between games whether we will be able to,” he said.
Indian cricketers are now some of the fittest on this planet but there was once a time when they didn’t have the required knowledge on fitness and envied the more athletic Australians and South Africans, Dravid said.
Now in charge of the National Cricket Academy, Dravid has played a key role in producing the next generation of cricketers and a reserve pool which is the envy of India’s opponents.
In his playing days, Dravid said the awareness just wasn’t there.
“Playing on the beach and playing on the street doesn’t make you a cricketer. It makes you someone who loves the game. That is what we had. We had numerous 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 once all this in the 1990s and the 2000s? There was once no access to it. We were starved of knowledge.
“Even when it comes to fitness, we used to take a look at the Australians and South Africans and we used to take a look at their fitness trainers, and what did we get? “Don’t do too much gym, your body will change into stiff. Bowl, bowl and bowl. Run rounds and laps”,” he reminisce about.
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