The Development process was something he spoke about, but that was not all from Greg Chappell before he left for the US on Monday afternoon for a short break before the players reunite at a conditioning camp later this month ahead of the Sri Lanka tri-series.
The coach was in a mood to shower praise on Rahul Dravid the batsman — as also Dravid the captain. Coming from one of the finest batsmen of all time, it was a glowing tribute to someone who is steadily crafting his way towards the best of batting laurels. Following are the excerpts from a conversation:
Dravid the batsman
Awesome. In the last Test he was the outstanding batsman from both sides because he is an outstanding player and continuously strives to get better. When he got out in the first innings, he did not complain about the wicket, he just said he should have been forward. It shows the mindset of the individual wanting to get better and better. It takes difficult conditions for the cream to come to the top and Dravid came to the top in this game.
We couldn’t have had a better example of commitment, application, desperation, determination, patience and technique to cope with the difficult conditions. History will show that he is one of the best players for anyone, forget India, anywhere, anytime.
Dravid the captain
His captaincy has been very good and he is continuing to develop. The most important thing is that he is prepared to take tough decisions. Batting first in Antigua and here were not the easiest of decisions but they were the best. It was always going to be tough on the first day here but Rahul decided it (batting first) was in the best interests of the team. He will continue to improve in all departments till he retires.
Breaking the jinx
It is great to think that this team has done something no other Indian team has done for 35 years. I have been around Test cricket for long enough to know that you can’t overreact to anything good or bad, but it’s a good step forward. We are on the way to becoming a great Test match team and this win is an important step, nothing more, nothing less.
Setbacks vs Pak and England
We were obviously disappointed that we did not finish those series well. We had some mitigating circumstances. I was sitting there and saw all of that and had to take it all on board. That it raised a few alarm bells helped us along the way. It was a different situation here and it worked differently.
Winning and losing isn’t everything, there are other lessons to be taken. If we had won the one-day series, it could lead to some complacency towards the World Cup next year. We got the wake-up call we needed. It will help us when we come back next year. Every cloud has a silver lining.
Process of development
It takes time. I think we have learned some valuable lessons. Some of these guys have been around for a few years but haven’t played a lot of Test cricket. We can’t expect players to do well immediately. It takes 20-30 matches to take a player to really understand what Test cricket is about and how different it is from one-day cricket. It’s part of the job that we coaches have to do, expanding their mind as much as their body to cope with Test cricket.
Nurturing fast bowlers
The fact that we have been able to win the Test series with young fast bowlers is a great credit to them. The way they have learned quickly, developed and adjusted to the different demands of Test cricket is heartening. To win Test matches anywhere you need good pace bowlers. With the four young ones on this tour, we have got the variety and depth to look forward with some confidence to playing cricket anywhere.