Former India captain and batting legend Rahul Dravid will mentor the Delhi Daredevils side in the forthcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). While this was always under speculation following the suspension of his former IPL side Rajasthan Royals, the decision was officially made on Tuesday.
Dravid had recently coached the India U-19 team, guiding them to the final of the Colts World Cup held recently in Bangladesh. Before that he had a stint with the India ‘A’ team as well.
In Delhi, he will be joined by a number of junior cricketers he has worked with recently as well as those who had been mentored by him in the now-suspended Rajasthan Royals side.
The likes of Karun Nair and Sanju Samson were with him at the Rajasthan franchise whereas Rishabh Pant, Khaleel Ahmed and Mahipal Lomror have played under his tutelage at the recently-concluded U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh.
Dravid, who played for RR before turning into a successful mentor for them, said he is not looking too far ahead. “It will be one step at a time. I am looking at the initial few months,” he said at a press conference in the Capital.
In fact, Dravid had been quite successful at his previous IPL franchise. Under his captaincy, Rajasthan made the last four of IPL twice. He also led the team to the final of the Champions League T20 in 2013.
While Dravid said he was not part of the auction team, it was certain that he would come in after the Daredevils picked some players from the defunct Rajasthan franchise and were looking for a strong mentor.
Normally Delhi has concentrated on icon players, or big international stars, in most of earlier editions. However, this year they are more youth centric with not many bid names. “I think we are well-balanced and have good established players in Quinton de Kock, Imran Tahir, Jean-Paul Duminy and Nathan Coulter-Nile. It is not just about the youngsters,” he said.
The big questions for Delhi will however be posed by their expensive buy Pawan Negi and the injured paceman Mohammad Shami.
Negi fetched the second highest price in the entire auction at R8.5 crore despite not having represented India.
“Don’t judge a player’s value by the money he commands. Sometimes the price you pay doesn’t reflect value. I am never excited by the money that a player commands. I don’t think he has to justify his price. All he has to do is enjoy his cricket and learn as much as he can.”
India and Delhi Daredevils ace paceman Mohammed Shami has been struggling to stay fit. He was pulled out of the Asia Cup squad at the last moment after he couldn’t get fit in time.
TA Sekar, who is part of the coaching staff said, “We have to wait and see. Don’t exactly know what his condition is. Hopefully he is fit.”
Dravid, a batsman in the traditional mould, said that the T20 format is helpful in many ways.
“It helps youngsters as they are exposed to pressure. It gives them an almost international-like experience playing in domestic T20 competition. We have examples of Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane who have done well in all three formats,” said Dravid before adding that youngsters should always think of playing all the three formats instead of just one.