Players Are Not Machines, Workload Management a Must: Rahul Dravid
Rahul Dravid, the new head coach of team India, is keenly aware of the difference between training an Under-19 outfit and a result-oriented international team. So, his aim for the team is to strike the necessary balance between making a team for the future and winning each game.
Speaking on this matter before the crucial New Zealand T20 cricket match, Dravid said that he would think long-term while focusing on making sure that the team embarked on a winning path.
Here’s what the new coach has to say about the team he is planning to make for the upcoming matches.
The Difference Between Coaching a U-19 and International Team
Dravid outlined that though certain principles related to coaching a team remained the same, one couldn’t train “different teams in the same way.” Every team has its own set of requirements and challenges, which have to be dealt with differently.
With that being said, Dravid added that he would not repeat everything that he had done with the Under-19 team for the international team because that was not the right way to go about things. He is taking this as an opportunity to get to know and learn more about the cricketers.
As a crucial member of the support staff, he considers it his responsibility to mold himself in a way that he can bring out the best from the players – which forms the core of his coaching philosophy.
Apart from the Under-19 team, Dravid has previous experience with training the young guns as the chief of the National Cricket Academy. Winning isn’t the end goal at the junior level, where the focus is more on training the younger generation for the next level. At the senior level, things are a lot different because the nation expects their team to bring home every trophy, and Dravid understands that.
Indian cricket fans are keeping a close watch on the new head coach as they expect him to successfully achieve something that his predecessor, Mr. Ravi Shastri, could not – win a coveted ICC title. After the completely lacklustre performance at the recently concluded T20 Cricket World Cup 2021, there is a lot of hope pinned on Dravid’s shoulder – especially as the ICC T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place next year in October.
The Bubble Fatigue and the Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
Dravid was asked to speak about his short-term and long-term goals at length, to which he talked about the importance of striking that balance. Definitely, his aim at the time is to win each game that the team plays for the country, but one cannot avoid thinking about the long-term picture.
He added that the team would consider the long-term career and future of the players and keep the current conditions in focus. At no point will their well-being get a lesser priority than the short-term results. Though winning was crucial in all formats of the game, it was equally important to focus on forming a strong core team that looked all set for the future, said Dravid. And cric-life.com supports the new coach of Team India completely on this.
He summed up this conversation by saying that being focused on winning was a combination of the present victories and the future trophies. The team needs to win at present but also keep an eye out for the future by planning and preparing for the major tournaments coming up in the near future, just like the next year’s ICC T20 World Cup.
Dravid believes that his job as the head coach of the team is to think long-term and think about what lies ahead in the future. This is something that he considers to be a constant belief regardless of the team he is coaching at the moment. Along with the T20 World Cup in 2022, Dravid was also referring to the ongoing World Test Championship and the 2023 ODI World Cup (India is also the host for this one).
Stress on Mental Health and Wellness in Tough Times
Workload management is a topic that has gained a lot of significance in times of COVID. However, Dravid specifically mentioned that the think tank wasn’t considering having different teams for different formats of the game. Having said that, he acknowledged that cricketers, especially the ones playing in all the formats, needed to get enough time to take a rest and recuperate from the bubble fatigue.
Dravid clarified this stand of the team further by saying that there were particular individuals who would only play in certain formats of cricket. However, there are some cricketers who will take part in every format of the game. As a coach, the mental and physical health of the team is the most significant aspect for him. He assures that he will always be up for a conversation, and he will work with them to make sure that when they play, they are completely “fresh” and “fully switched on” at all times.
Speaking of the current scenario, Dravid acknowledged that those were challenging times for the players, and especially the ones who needed to be present at every format of the game. Now, there might be a particular series that comes up where every single player that plays in every format of the game might not all be present. The selections will be made keeping that in mind, and it’s important to acknowledge that as a reality.
Dravid cited Kane Williamson as an example of a player who had not played the T20 matches against India but came back stronger for the Test series. In India, Virat Kohli took a break from the T20s to be back for the second and the final Test.
Given the amount of cricket currently being played, managing the players properly is becoming even more important. The players do not get to take part in all the games even in the case of football. The team will address the situation from one match to another. Dravid called it “a balancing act” where the focus would be on making sure that each player was ready and fit for the major tournaments. In fact, he mentioned that it was a challenge that each team in world cricket was facing at that moment.
Also, he made it amply clear that no particular format would get any preference over the other. Initially, he plans to keep his role limited to sitting back and watching and observing and stepping in when needed. Each of the three formats is highly important to the team.
There are three major cricketing events coming up, and Dravid wants to prepare for each of those tournaments. In terms of vision, he wants the team to improve with each passing day and keep getting better as individuals and as cricketers. He firmly believes that once this is achieved, the team will be well on its way to glory.
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