Rahul Dravid gets 'bits-and-pieces' warning from Sidhu to avoid T20 World Cup debacle: 'Look at Imran Khan, Steve Waugh' | Crickit

Rahul Dravid gets 'bits-and-pieces' warning from Sidhu to avoid T20 World Cup debacle: 'Look at Imran Khan, Steve Waugh'

Apr 25, 2024 01:10 PM IST

Navjot Sidhu has urged head coach Rahul Dravid to shrug off a particular practice come the T20 World Cup which he feels is holding back the Indian team.

It was in 2013 that India last won an ICC Trophy. Ever since MS Dhoni and his team lifted the ICC Champions Trophy in England, India have waited for 11 years to lay their hands on the next ICC silverware, but all they've copped are disappointments and missed opportunities. In the last decade, India have lost four World Cup semifinals and two finals, to go with a defeat in the 2017 Champions Trophy final and back-to-back World Test Championships. Captains have come and gone, as have coaches, but the one thing that has remained constant is India's empty Trophy cabinet.

Navjot Sidhu wants Rahul Dravid to have more of specialists and less of utility players (Getty-PTI)
Navjot Sidhu wants Rahul Dravid to have more of specialists and less of utility players (Getty-PTI)

Last year, India had their best chance to end the wait when they played the World Cup at home, only for the dream to be shattered by Australia in the final. Nonetheless, it's another year, and another World Cup beckons, but this time, to ensure Team India returns from the USA and West Indies victorious, former batter Navjot Singh Sidhu has an advice for Rahul Dravid. Sidhu, Dravid's former India teammate, has warned the head coach against making compromises and urged The Wall to stick with five specialist bowlers – two spinners and three pacers or vice-versa according to the conditions – in the Playing XI come what may.

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India's T20 World Cup squad is yet to be picked, but certain names – Kuldeep Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah – are assured of a place in the 15. For the other spinners and pacers, Sidhu jotted down a list of promising youngsters he reckons Dravid should give the go-ahead to, including tearaway pacer Mayank Yadav, who has impressed one and all with his speed.

"My straight advice to Rahul Dravid is that if you want to win this tournament, have five wicket-taking specialist bowlers, simple. The collapse of a team's character stems from the compromise column. Your character takes a hit when you compromise. You have three spinners – Bishnoi, Kuldeep and Jadeja picks himself. And play three fast bowlers," Sidhu said in a discussion with Star Sports.

"Mayank Yadav, if fit, walks into the side. Khaleel Ahmed, Mohsin Khan. And Delhi Capitals have Mukesh Kumar. I feel that the Indian team has so many options that if they take wicket-taking bowlers and do not compromise – thinking that this guy can bat a bit, bowl a bit. These bits-and-pieces things."

Sidhu's 'Imran Khan-Steve Waugh' examples

Over the years, Team India have been found guilty of persisting more with utility players than specialists, especially the bowlers. Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar are individuals that are primarily bowlers, but have been given a longer run due to their ability to chip in with the bat. Sidhu wants Dravid and India to take cue from a couple of legendary World Cup winners, break free of this approach and pick six specialist batters and five specialist bowlers that can get the job done.

"All the great captains that I've seen – look at Imran Khan of Pakistan or Steve Waugh of Australia. They all preferred wicket-taking bowlers. And that's the secret. This is a theme that we tend to ignore. If seven batters can't win you the match, the eighth won't either," added Sidhu.

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