Former India captain Rahul Dravid has been put in charge of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, an all-encompassing role which will make him the point man to groom the next generation of cricketers. His new designation is likely to be ‘head of cricket’ and responsibilities will include monitoring the progress of the India ‘A’ and the under-19 teams, charting out a development programme for junior squads and the women’s team, appointment of coaches for the NCA and zonal cricket academies and overseeing the injury management of contracted players.
In addition to this, the coaches of the India under-19 and India ‘A’ teams will report to the former India No.3. Dravid coached both the teams since 2015, but with him set to take up the new role at the NCA, the task of coaching the junior teams have been assigned to former India pacer Paras Mhambrey and former wicket-keeper Abhay Sharma for now.
Mhambrey will travel with the under-19 team to England and Sharma will be in-charge of India ‘A’, which will tour the West Indies. Dravid will travel to both England and West Indies in July for a limited number of days while the teams are on tour. The Committee of Administrators is set make a formal announcement on Dravid’s appointment after their next meeting.
Dravid will also have a key role when it comes to rehabilitation and injury management of contracted players, who travel to the NCA for recovery. Dravid will not only monitor their progress but will also give feedback to the Indian team management about the fitness of a player who is making a comeback after an injury. “He (Dravid) will look after the development programme for the India ‘A’, under-19 teams and the women’s team. The NCA is a high-performance centre and with Dravid in charge, players even coaches will benefit. He will appoint coaches at the NCA and ZCA. He will conduct interviews and plan the way forward for juniors. He will travel as head of cricket when the India A and under-19 teams are touring,” said a BCCI source.
Dravid in his role as India ‘A’ and under-19 coach has groomed players including India under-19 captain Prithvi Shaw, opener Mayank Agarwal and middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari and they have seamlessly transitioned into Test cricket. All-rounder Vijay Shankar, who is part of the World Cup squad and 19-year-old batsman Shubman Gill, one of the most promising batsmen, have also been coached by the former Indian captain. Dravid was the coach of the India Under-19 squad which beat Australia for the title last year in New Zealand.