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Dravid not looking for different teams for each format, but will prioritise players’ well-being

After the early ouster from the T20 World Cup, several players have been rested through various parts of the home series, which also includes two Tests.

Written by Tushar Bhaduri |
Updated: November 17, 2021 8:16:18 am
Despite the intense workload on several key Indian players who feature in all three formats, new head coach Rahul Dravid is not looking at fielding completely different teams in each version of the game. (File)

Despite the intense workload on several key Indian players who feature in all three formats, new head coach Rahul Dravid is not looking at fielding completely different teams in each version of the game.

Players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja have been on the road, and on the field, almost non-stop for the last several months. This, allied with the compulsion to stay in bio-secure bubbles during the pandemic, left them a bit jaded during the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, from which India made a group-stage exit.

“I am certainly not looking at different teams for the three formats. There are certain players who will play just one format or other. I would love someone like Rohit Sharma (sitting next to him) to play all three formats. We of course will prioritise players’ well-being,” Dravid said on the eve of the three-match T20I series against New Zealand starting in Jaipur on Wednesday.

After the early ouster from the T20 World Cup, several players have been rested through various parts of the home series, which also includes two Tests.

Kohli will miss the T20 series and the first Test, in which India will be led by Ajinkya Rahane, while Bumrah and Mohammed Shami will also skip the three white-ball fixtures. New T20I skipper Sharma and wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant will not be present in the Test series, while Jadeja will be absent from the T20Is.

After playing 11 Tests, three One-Day Internationals, eight T20Is and 13 Indian Premier League fixtures since the beginning of the calendar year, Sharma is well aware of the need for cricketers to get breaks from time to time to recharge their batteries.

“Work load management is very important. Players are not machines. They can’t just keep coming on to field and keep playing. Rest is needed. We are giving players rest. We want all our boys to be fresh for the challenges ahead,” he said.

After the eventful Kohli-Ravi Shastri era in Indian cricket, which brought a lot of success despite not landing any ICC trophy, Dravid will be expected to put his own stamp on the national teams.

“Teams you coach will come with their unique set of challenges. This is an opportunity to get to know the players and learn what they want. You have to mould yourself to get the best of the players. That’s my philosophy,” the former India captain, who has had a long stint as Under-19 and A team coach as well as the director of the National Cricket Academy, said.

He will have a new captain in the saddle as he begins his tenure with the T20I series, someone he has known for a long time.

“Time flies. I remember Rohit Sharma had just come from U-19s and there was a Challenger tournament in Madras (Chennai). We all knew he was a special, special talent. It’s lovely to see the way Rohit has grown as a leader, as a person over 14 years … he has done it with a lot of grace and class,” Dravid said.

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