Under coach Rahul Dravid, the Indian team will look to rebuild and among the first and foremost objectives of the side will be to reflect on what has been a hapless performance in the recently-concluded event.
They always said the briefest format of the game was full of thrills, though for India, as it turned out, it was anything but.
Rebuilding can often be a worrying term, usually indicating that one’s not been up to the mark and has been regressive and the sort. But in India’s case, the worry- not that there’s none- should largely be looked at the T20 World Cup performance.
The loss to Pakistan, for instance, will likely continue to read like a massive ledger entry that led to foul accounting outcomes. Isn’t that true?
This isn’t to say that in the other versions of the game, India have quite simply been a behemoth but frankly, a team that did reach the finals of the World Test Championship (earlier in 2021) can’t be painted in unsavory colors- can it?
On recent history, India did reach the semis of the 2019 ODI world cup, a performance that should ideally have resulted in, at least, being the runner’s up of the prestigious ICC event but the team fell short.
Reaching the big stages, as seen from India’s end, hasn’t been all that difficult for a unit composed of illustrious talents but it’s delivering the knock out punch that’s missing.
With Dravid as the mentor of the side, since technically speaking, coaching is too limiting a term from the perspective of a great leader anyway, among the first aims of the unit will be to bounce back to great form in the next T20 World Cup.
And it isn’t that far anyway, the Australia-bound event less than a year away. The aim will be to rise and shine.
But what reasons perhaps suggest that the mighty can be achieved under Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma’s watch?
A new captain and a new opening batting pair!
The cool and collected captain, Rohit Sharma is finally no longer ‘captaincy material,’ but the captain of a side. This was a long time coming. It’s fruitless and rather demeaning to a man of Virat Kohli’s stature to find his captaincy feats forgotten and blemishes retold.
Which is why it makes sense to focus what’s on hand.
And what is is Rohit Sharma’s mature and unperturbed style of captaincy.
An early result of which was the three-nil hammering delivered to the Kiwis, who were found flayed by Sharma’s unit, instead of flying earlier this month.
Now, all that Rohit would want will be to continue as the unflustered but determined captain who doesn’t buckle under pressure. On the contrary, that Rohit likes to create some was evident by his recent match winning exploits as the opener against Kiwis in the T20Is.
With KL Rahul for company, Rohit was seen relaxed and somewhat unperturbed in that he knew he had a partner of the same intent and what followed next was demolition.
With a classy batsman at the other end, the Rohit –Rahul combination showed us a great trailer in the recent limited overs outing. But this pair will surely become a regal sight to behold and must in the upcoming T20 World Cup, much like the rise of RR in the IPL was, under Dravid’s close observation.
Rahul Dravid’s version of seeing things is a refreshing sight: days of star treatment numbered!
Rahul Dravid and his world has always been an understudy in simplicity and straightforwardness.
On Dravid’s watch- team India looks safe. Hasn’t this been said time and over again? But what could be the reason?
It’s perhaps down to the fact that all are equals in a world where Dravid is orchestrating things.
Kohli might be and most certainly is, a ‘Virat’ talent but in Dravid’s eyes he will be considered a batsman whose great days are ahead of him. There’s always a way to maximize one’s full potential.
To achieve all that the massively gifted bat can still do, will then be left in Dravid’s holistic approach. This is when Kohli, for instance, has come such a long way already.
Ditto for Rohit. Ditto for other big achievers like Shami.
The key difference that Dravid will bring in the T20 world cup will be to humanize the characters in the Indian dressing room.
There are no stars, but individuals. No immortal treatment; but consideration that each being is a mortal and must be attended to with the same amount of intensity and passion.
The question of ‘fatigue’
Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid aren’t the only ones who desire winning the T20 world cup. An entire nation rallies behind them now. The 2022 trophy is an ideal chance to achieve what has, thus far, remained off limits for India.
But among the key factors that will help us reach the long way to the cup will be managing players. They are, after all, all that we have and any team’s actual working capital. Right?
So that effectively boils down to managing player fatigue. Among the first things that Rahul Dravid will do- and must do- will be to ensure that none are burnt out and yet, all are given finite chances in which to prove their worth and potential.
In his view, all will be equals. The weak areas of our talents will be addressed nicely and humanely as ever and their great strengths won’t be hyped. As a matter of fact, Dravid and Rohit, both astute observers of the game will only encourage the nicely performing lot to keep doing more, keep getting better.
Managing players in a way that they remain encouraged and in an environment that’s conducive to their rise and ultimately, that of the team will be the first great thing to achieve and it doesn’t seem as though Dravid and his captain will fail in that.
An era of definite changes
One of the key factors in the Dravid-Rohit era of India’s leadership will be to enhance the bench strength of the Team. Even sides that aren’t the greatest anymore in world cricket but can be seen trying, such as the West Indies have three vastly different teams for each of the format of the game.
The only common links between their T20 and ODI side as seen in the world cup were players like Chase and Holder. India too may go along that way.
The ones in Tests, especially purists like Pujara, Rahane and Ishant don’t anyways play T20s. But the focus now will be on extending the bench strength for each squad, whether it’s a Test or T20 team.
The T20I side, in particular, will likely feature some interesting experiments in a bid to lift the elusive trophy.
It’s not because T20Is happen to be the flavor of the youth but the central idea that it is in the hands of the youth and around their powers anyway that the future of a side practically revolves.
There could be a rotation policy, for instance, to give an Ashwin a breather, for he’s the big ticket for key matches and play Rahul Chahar and even an extra spinner, say Varun to try out the combinations.
Similarly, at any given time, there could be three openers that could be tried in a single series.
But in here will rest the key challenge for the Wall and his pupil. To not over experiment and yet, sufficiently, test the bench for the shortest form. Thankfully, given the massive amounts of cricket India already plays, will give all a sufficient and surely under Dravid’s watch- a fair chance!
Giving youngsters a chance and increasingly so
Many a talent has emerged in such time in the team. Ishan Kishan. Shubman Gill. The upcoming Venkatesh Iyer. Varun Chakravarthy. Wasn’t it brilliant to see Chakravarthy bowl in key matches this time around in the world cup? Expect the trend to continue under the Dravid and Sharma era
This new era is not set to- but has already- begun. Players that were much likely to remain IPL performers are already in the main team and being considered.
Expect the likes of Rahul Chahar, yet to blossom and given great many chances to come and play their part just the way the experienced lot, involving Deepak Chahar will be given all the opportunities to still put out their hand for a team whose DNA under Dravid will be youth but at the same time, won’t be about ignoring those who are contributing.