Team India has lost a T20 World Cup in the last year and a half, almost won the Test series in South Africa and survived losing against Bangladesh. In the month of June, there was also a defeat in the final of the World Test Championship. Every time, as expected, on most occasions, captain Rohit Sharma or KL Rahul or Virat Kohli was blamed for the defeat. Sometimes flaws were found in the batsmen and sometimes in the bowlers. But, one person about whom the discussions were only in hushed tones, is the current coach Rahul Dravid.
Yes, that Dravid whose example of decency is given not only in Indian cricket but in the whole world. A batsman who did not bow down even before the aura of Sachin Tendulkar and found new dimensions to seek greatness for himself. At a time when every ex-player is always ready to dance and sing songs to gather followers on social media, then Dravid stays away from social media, let alone main-stream media. When there is an easy career like commentary in front of a former player and captain, where crores of rupees are available just for talking, Dravid first coached Under-19 then India A and agreed to coach Team India only when the former captain and former BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and even Secretary Jai Shah requested him to take the responsibility of this team.
Now, after this background, how can anyone get the courage that the way Rohit and Kohli are easily criticized on social media, it should be possible with Dravid as well. Dravid is not even like former coach Ravi Shastri that anyone can make fun of anyone by saying anything on social media. Shastri didn’t care about those things, but Dravid is very sensitive to all kinds of criticism unlike him. For Dravid, who had always sought perfection during his playing career, this coaching role has put him in a strange quandary.
Unbelievable that Dravid, who in 2002 suggested the captain to bat first in extremely favorable conditions for bowling at Hendigley ground, the same Dravid as a coach became so defensive that he asked Rohit Sharma and his Accepted the point of the colleagues, in which it was argued that in the first two hours the swing bowlers will dominate the oval. It is true that no one in Dravid is looking for the ultra-aggressive baseball theory of England coach Brendon McCullum, but it was the same Dravid who, as captain, did not hesitate to declare an innings in Multan when Sachin Tendulkar was 194. But were not out.
If seen, now Dravid has only a few months left to count as a coach. It does not matter whether Team India wins or loses the 2023 ODI World Cup. If he wins, Dravid will happily call Team India boy boy for the first time or if he loses, he will have the same farewell which was witnessed during the 2007 ODI World Cup during his captaincy.
It was believed that after the end of the Kohli-Shastri era, a different approach would be seen in the new captain-coach era. But the mistakes of 2021 T20 World Cup were repeated in the same way in 2022 T20. Everyone already knew that Rohit-Rahul-Kohli batting together in the top order would prove to be harmful rather than beneficial, but the coach did not take the responsibility of belling the cat. Despite all the failures of Rahul, he was constantly backed and keeping match-winners like Rishabh Pant out of the playing XI without any reason shocked many former players. But, Dravid’s image is such a brilliant and settled personality that no one directly questioned his role.
Former captain like Ricky Ponting and all the experts found it strange during the commentary box in England to prefer KS Bharath over a match-winner like Ishaan Kishan despite his consistently average game in the WTC final. And to top it all, Sourav Ganguly did the right thing in one of his interviews, when he revealed that he explained to Dravid that his team plays under pressure or with a little fear. Ganguly said that defeat and victory keep happening, but your attitude should be fighter and bindas.
As captain and player, it was easy for Dravid to take difficult decisions. He used to take responsibility from himself. If the team needed an opener in difficult situations, Dravid would be the first to raise his hand, even if the team was looking for a wicketkeeper who could bat well, Dravid did not hesitate to take up this role for the team. But, in the current team, Dravid is not a player or captain but a coach. Even if he wants to do something bold himself, he probably cannot because it is his compulsion to follow the opinion of senior batsmen.
Dravid has seen the Greg Chappell coaching model in Indian cricket from close quarters and knows that even a slight manipulation by a coach with star players can forever tarnish them in the eyes of Indian cricket fans, who are special players. Do not get tired of worshiping. Dravid knows that the John Wright or Gary Kirsten and even Declan Fletcher model is the right one here, where the captain or the star players go as far as they can in coordination. But, will Dravid be happy with such a legacy? Probably not at all. But, now they do not have much time left for revolutionary changes. Be it West Indies tour or Asia Cup, success in these places will not add to Dravid’s coaching style.
If Dravid wants the world to remember him as one of the greatest batsman as well as a brilliant coach, then his team India must win the trophy on November 15 in Ahmedabad. If this does not happen, then perhaps Dravid will have to face so many criticisms that he has not seen in his entire career.