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For Dravid, balance is important in ODIs; misses the absence of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja

Dravid, Six Sports

After India’s heart-wrenching loss to South Africa in the ODI series, head coach Rahul Dravid came in the firing line of media persons and he answered a plethora of questions such as India’s poor show in the ODIs, KL Rahul’s captaincy, and about Venkatesh Iyer to be placed in the top-order.

Dravid admitted to the fact that in the absence of senior all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, the team looked flat and lackluster as well as no proper momentum to propel them forward to win all three matches.

When asked if the team needed to restore their earlier mojo in 50-over cricket, Dravid replied,

Yeah, we understand the template. Obviously, a large part of the template is also dependent on the balance of your squad.

Talking about the absence of Pandya and Jadeja, Dravid said,

For Dravid, balance is important in ODIs; misses the absence of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, Six Sports
For Dravid, balance is important in ODIs; misses the absence of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, Six Sports

I think if you are a little bit honest, some of the guys who help us balance the squad out and give us all those all-round options at nos 6, 7 and 8 are probably not here, and available for selection.

Adding further he said,

Hopefully, when they (Hardik and Jadeja) come back, it will give us a lot more depth, it allows us then to probably play in a slightly different style.

Kl Rahul did good captaincy but its more about how your players execute themselves on field

For Dravid, balance is important in ODIs; misses the absence of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, Six Sports

Rahul Dravid heaped huge praises on his namesake and said that he could only operate with the limited players available to him in the squad.

I thought he did a good job. Not easy to be on the wrong side of the result. He is just starting out as captain.

Further, he said,

…..and he will learn and a large part of captaincy is execution of skills by your players and the quality of the side you have got. We were a little short on the ODI side of things and I thought he did a very decent job, someone who is growing and will constantly be improving and getting better as a captain.

Middle-overs need a lot more work

Dravid also accepted the fact that the Indian batters needed to be more aggressive and robust when batting in the middle overs of the game, especially from overs 20 to 40.

We certainly could do better with batting in middle overs.

He further said,

But having said, even South Africa who batted first on two occasions scored 290 as well and if I think back and look at the 30th over in both those games, we should have chased them down.

Without any name-taking he said,

We didn’t because we played some poor shots and we didn’t play some smart cricket at critical situations.

Players would be given an extended stay in the team but need to perform as well

Dravid doesn’t take names of players but very subtly points out their flaws in a very general way. Speaking indirectly for Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant, he said,

For Dravid, balance is important in ODIs; misses the absence of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, Six Sports
For Dravid, balance is important in ODIs; misses the absence of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, Six Sports

We certainly want to give them that consistency and we want to give them that security.

After a reassurance, he came to the direct point.

…and once you give them that consistency and security, you also got to demand performances, really big performances and that is an expectation you have when you play at this level, when you play for your country, you have to put in big performances and that’s a requirement. But the idea is to give as much stability as you can.

He also mentioned that Shreyas really needs to bring his A-game to the fore otherwise there are others who can take up his spot as the competition is very intense in the team.

Whether you bat 4,5 or 6, you have got to know what the team’s requirements are. Shreyas has gone in pretty early in all three games and he has had enough time (out there in the middle).

Adding further he said,

We know guys have done well and we would like to back them as much as possible. Sometimes they would have good tours and sometimes, it won’t be possible, that’s just the way it is.

Obviously, there tends to be a lot of competition, people pushing for places and its not easy in that kind of a situation.

Venkatesh an ongoing development but Hardik still key
For Dravid, balance is important in ODIs; misses the absence of Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, Six Sports

Dravid clearly said that if Venkatesh Iyer wants to have a long run in the white-ball format, he will have to fit himself in the middle-order of the playing XI.

Venkatesh, who rose dramatically in the national side for India, after playing just half a season of the IPL for KKR as an opener, now would have to play in the middle as the opening order is all but very much set according to Dravid.

Idea is to develop people like Venkatesh Iyer as a sixth bowling option. Whether its Venkatesh or whether its Hardik when he potentially comes back and we have got option of someone like Jadeja, who can potentially bat at no. 6 in certain times when he is back, that will give us a lot of options.

He also told media persons that Venkatesh has been told about his role in the team clearly.

It can happen if you are the sixth bowler in a team, you are not required to bowl. We have been clear with him that in our team with number of options we have, he has batted at the top of the order for KKR, in our team we are looking at no. 6, someone who can be that sixth bowling option.

…and that was the kind of role we had for him over here, we have quite a few options at the top of the order and when someone like Rohit comes back, there aren’t many spots open in 1, 2 or 3.

Team core will develop slowly but no time-frame can be set

The South Africa tour certainly opened Dravid’s eyes but he said that as the team plays more ODIs in the run-up to the 2023 World Cup, they will be able to form a better combination and how to approach a match.

Don’t think there is exact date or time frame and a large part of it evolves, we already have a certain amount of clarity at where we are at.

Adding further, he said,

At some point of time, we will already know, that we will have a fair idea of what kind of roles we already expect from people, and large part of that has already been communicated to them.

A broad outline and a broad template is already in place and as you get closer and closer you start fine-tuning that and hard to put a date to that.

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