Rahul Dravid can get the best out of Team India

Rahul Dravid
A new challenge awaits Rahul Dravid. File photo: AFP

The expected appointment of Rahul Dravid as the head coach of the Indian team came as a comforting news for the cricket fans smarting from the poor show of the Men in Blue in the ongoing T20 World Cup. Dravid brings a sense of calmness to the Indian dressing room and the optimism that he will make a bunch of quality players into world-beaters.

Ravi Shastri's tenure as head coach ends after India's campaign in the T20 World Cup. Shastri enjoyed great success with India winning Test series in Australia in 2018-19 and 2020-21. If the first one was a maiden triumph for an Asian side Down Under, the second was even more memorable as a depleted Indian side rallied to stun Australia 2-1 after getting bowled out for 36 in the first Test at Adelaide.

The Indians were on the verge of winning a Test series in England after a gap of 14 years when the fifth and final Test was cancelled this September following a COVID-19 outbreak in the visitors' camp. India were leading 2-1 and the final Test will now be played next July.

However, the combination of Shastri and Virat Kohli have failed to clinch an ICC event so far. India fell in the semifinals of the ODI World Cup to the Kiwis and came second best again to the Black Caps in the final of the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC).

Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid's target will be to guide India to ICC titles. File photo: IANS

Board of Control for Cricket in India president and ex-captain Sourav Ganguly will be hoping that his former teammate will be able to guide the Indians to a major title with the T20 World Cup to be played in Australia next year and India hosting the ODI World Cup in 2023. Also the second edition of the WTC comes to an end in 2023.

Tough assignment

Dravid, who will take charge starting with the home series against New Zealand later this month, faces his first real challenge on the South African tour. South Africa has been the 'Final Frontier' for India, with them yet to win a Test series there. India won a first-ever Test in South Africa under Dravid's captaincy in 2006. Though no longer the old force, the Proteas still possess one of the finest bowling attacks with pacers Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi in their ranks. Kohli & Co. will have to be on top of their game to tame the South Africans.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma is likely to be the new white-ball captain. File photo: AFP

In all probability, Rohit Sharma will be the new white-ball captain with Kohli continuing as Test skipper. Team selection, especially the playing eleven, was a problem area under the Kohli-Shastri combo. One hopes that Dravid will be able to convince the captain to go in with the best possible eleven in crucial games.

Stellar track record

Dravid's track record as India U-19 and India 'A' coach has been superb. He guided the Indian colts to glory in the 2018 ICC U-19 World Cup. Current national players Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Mohammed Siraj and Hanuma Vihari blossomed under him. As Director of National Cricket Academy, Dravid has been closely monitoring the growth of future national prospects.

But Dravid knows it best that the captain is the boss in cricket. The bitter experiences of Greg Chappell and Anil Kumble when they tried to impose themselves on the Indian players are there for everyone to see.

Dravid gave his all during his playing days. He has been able to extract the best out of the players in his coaching career and has made sure that all the players in the squad gets an opportunity to showcase their skills. Hopefully, his stint as Indian coach will be fruitful as well.

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