India vs New Zealand: Takeaways from Rahul Dravid’s first press conference as India’s full-time head coach

Updated on Nov 16, 2021 08:57 PM IST

Take a lot look at the major takeaways from Rahul Dravid's first press conference as the team's head coach ahead of the India-New Zealand T20I series.

India vs New Zealand: Takeaways from Rahul Dravid’s first press conference as India’s full-time head coach
India vs New Zealand: Takeaways from Rahul Dravid’s first press conference as India’s full-time head coach

Team India head coach Rahul Dravid, as expected, sounded extremely clear and focussed during his first press conference after taking up the mantle from Ravi Shastri.  Ahead of the start of the India vs New Zealand T20I series in Jaipur, Dravid answered a variety of questions with skipper Rohit Sharma sitting beside him.

Former captain Dravid, who played 164 tests and 344 one-dayers between 1996 and 2012 and accumulated more than 10,000 runs in both formats, has coached India's Under-19 and A teams and was also the head of the National Cricket Academy.

ALSO READ| India T20I captain Rohit Sharma explains Virat Kohli's role in Rahul Dravid era

After the culmination of India's T20 World Cup 2021 campaign, Dravid took over the reins while Rohit took over the responsibility of T20I captaincy from Virat Kohli, who decided to step down to focus on his batting and the leadership of other formats.

Let's take a look at some of the major takeaways from the event.

1." KNEW ROHIT WAS GOING TO BE SPECIAL"

In 2007, Rohit Sharma made his ODI debut under the leadership of Rahul Dravid against Ireland and 14 years later, they are back to working in a different capacity. Dravid, also known for his eye for talent, said he knew Rohit Sharma was a “special.”

"We all knew Rohit is going to be special. Lovely to see how he has grown as a leader and a player. His success with Mumbai Indians has been phenomenal. To carry legacy of Mumbai and Indian cricket isn't easy. He has done it with grace and class," remarked Dravid.

2. NOT PRIORITIZING ANY FORMATS"

Dravid is very clear in his thinking and the fact that he revealed that India will not prioritize any format bears testament to his approach.

“No, we do not prioritise formats at all. All three formats are critically important for us, there will no letup on how we prepare and plan for any of the three formats. We have three ICC events and we need to prepare for those events, as far as planning is concerned, for me, it is just about we wanting to improve constantly and we keep getting better as players, we should be fine,” elaborated Dravid.

3. INITIAL ROLE IS TO SIT BACK AND OBSERVE

The former India wicketkeeper spoke about his involvement in the team initially, saying that for now, he is having the odd conversation with senior pros like Rohit and KL Rahul, and that he is observing with keen eyes.

“Just had a few interactions, they were busy with the World Cup, did not want to disturb them till the tournament got over. Just had the opportunity to talk with Rohit at times after the World Cup got over, with Virat as well. We have been here in quarantine, had the opportunity to interact with people not face-to-face but atleast through Zoom links or Google Meet. Just sitting back and observing how things are done, learning but yeah a period for me, an opportunity for me to sit back and see how it runs, every team is a different environment. My role initially will be to sit back and observe and step in when required. We have time for that, there is no rush,” explained Dravid.

4. NEW ZEALAND ARE NO UNDERDOGS

When asked whether the Black Caps head into the upcoming series as "underdogs", Dravid was quick to respond as he said that giving the Kiwis that tag has become fashionable and that no team thinks of them that way.

“New Zealand is a very good side, make no mistake about it. Their performance over the last few years has been exceptional, I think it has become fashionable to call them underdogs in every tournament but honestly, I think the narrative has changed, they enter the tournament, from outside point, they would be underdog but I am sure internally teams which compete against them, know they are going to be a top contender in any tournament they play in,” said Dravid.

5. SEPARATE TEAMS FOR SEPARATE FORMATS? NOT AS OF NOW

Teams around the world have now moved to a template where they have a different team for each format. Of course, some players play more than one but each team houses a few specialists. Dravid, addressing the situation, said that the team does not want to zero in on a template currently.

“I do not think we are at that point where we are looking at separate teams, Rohit I would want to play every format. We are not at that point where we are looking at separate teams, we are not going to do that. Ofcourse, there are certain individuals who play certain formats of the game and that happens. In times like these, we need to be in conversations with the players and we need to respect players' mental and physical health,” commented Dravid.

6. MENTAL HEALTH, WORKLOAD MANAGEMENT ARE IMPORTANT

Coach Dravid also laid emphasis on the importance of the players' mental well-being and their workload management. Without a shred of a doubt, these two factors will come into play during his tenure as well.

"Even in football, the big players don't play all the matches. Player's mental and physical well-being will be important. It's a balancing act and work towards getting everyone fit and ready for the big tournaments: Rahul Dravid on workload management."

These are challenging times for players, especially to those who play all formats. We need to accept reality that not every player will play all matches. We aren't looking at separate teams (for different formats) but player's mental health is important," said Dravid.

7. DRAVID'S COACHING PHILOSOPHY

When asked the difference between coaching at various levels, Dravid responded:

“Certain coaching principles remain the same but (certain things) definitely need to change for different teams. Will take time for me to understand and mould myself to get the best out of players. That’s my philosophy."

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