India’s Cricket Teams and the Role of Rahul Dravid
The Indian cricket team is currently preparing for a challenging test series against England, while a second-string team was sent to Sri Lanka for a white ball series. The decision to send a second-string team to Sri Lanka was influenced by the Covid-19 quarantine restrictions and the importance placed on the series against England. The media has labeled the Indian team in Sri Lanka as a ‘B’ grade team due to the inclusion of several fringe players. However, despite these labels, India managed to win the first two ODI matches of the three-match series against Sri Lanka. The final match of the series provided an opportunity to test players who were selected but not included in the playing eleven, resulting in the team being regarded as a ‘C’ grade team for that match.
Rahul Dravid, the acting coach, has received praise for his successful stint as a batsman and wicket-keeper in challenging circumstances. He has also been recognized for his role as a mentor in shaping the careers of many young players during his tenure as the head of NCA (National Cricket Academy). However, during a rain interruption in a match against Sri Lanka, Dravid’s actions raised some eyebrows. He went to the ground and began offering advice to the Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka, which was seen by some as an overstep of his role as the coach of the Indian team. As a coach, his focus should primarily be on his own team, and his actions were deemed unnecessary interference. Following the rain delay, India struggled and was eventually bowled out for a modest total of 225 runs, allowing Sri Lanka an easier path to victory.
Even with a ‘C’ grade team, India had been scoring well until Dravid’s intervention. Sri Lanka, aiming to gather points for their World Cup qualification, benefited from the situation. Dravid’s actions led to criticism, as it undermined the confidence of the Indian team and potentially affected their chances of being selected for future matches. It is regrettable that such an incident occurred at this stage of Dravid’s otherwise commendable career. It is important for a coach to prioritize their own team’s interests and not go beyond their boundaries. It looked as if Rahul Dravid turned rogue for the first time in his illustrious career. The team has every right to question Dravid for his actions, which let them down as well as the viewers and supporters of the Indian cricket team. It would be appropriate for BCCI President Saurav Ganguly to advise his former colleague to remain within the limits of his role and avoid attempting to be a mentor to all and sundry.