Rahul Dravid has said that he would have preferred to wait till the end of India’s England tour to make changes to the support staff as such decisions could be “tough on everyone concerned”. Talking about the appointment of former India captain Ravi Shastri as Team Director after India lost the fifth and final Test against England in under three days to go down 1-3 in the series, Dravid said: “You don’t have problems if people want to make changes, it’s part of professional sport.”
“(But) there is still not a lot of clarity on whether this is a long term appointment or the changes we have seen are for this series, so there’s a bit of confusion around that.”
With the Indian team management forcing bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding consultant Trevor Penney to go on a break while former India all-rounder Sanjay Bangar, ex-pacer Bharat Arun and R Sridhar (fielding) were added as assistant coaches.
Dravid told ‘ESPNcricinfo’ that taking such a decision in the middle of a tour was “tough on everyone concerned”.
“Sometimes from a players’ perspective that can be quite hard. I hope that’s something Ravi will handle quite well. All these players also build relationships with support staff and as players you do recognise that at some level you are actually responsible for your own success and failure,” he said.
Though the move to make Shastri Team Director has sparked off a wave of speculation about Duncan Fletcher’s future as head coach, but Dravid said: “It will be up to him to decide whether he is comfortable in continuing in the role in this new kind of environment, wherein he will have to report to someone at the ground.”
Having worked extensively with Fletcher as a player, as well as team mentor recently, Dravid said the Zimbabwean got along well with the players. “If you ask me, I think he’s got a lot of knowledge and I know having been around the team that the team does respect him and a lot of them get along very well with him and do ask him for a lot of technical advice. There is a good rapport between him and Dhoni,” he said.
Dravid expressed confidence that Shastri and Fletcher would ensure they work together in the best interests of the team. “I thought Ravi was very good in the time that he was there with the team. By personality he’s a very positive, outgoing, upbeat kind of person, which can really help the team. His personality can help a lot of the younger players because they do respect him and what he’s done for the game,” Dravid said.